A former executive producer of the NBC show “The Blacklist” has filed suit against Sony, alleging he was fired after being wrongfully blamed for a workplace scuffle.
Michael Watkins is a veteran TV director and cinematographer. He was an executive producer for several seasons of “The Blacklist,” the NBC crime show starring James Spader.
According to his suit, he was fired in February 2018 after he allegedly “laid hands” on a male camera assistant. Watkins alleges that the claim was never investigated, and that if it had been, the company would have discovered that it was the assistant who become frustrated and laid hands on Watkins.
Watkins claims that Laura Benson, a co-executive producer on the show, used the incident as a pretext “in order to facilitate her own rise in position and power” on the show. He also alleges that after he was gone, executives bad-mouthed him to various people, saying that he was “blackballed” at Sony for the “beating” of the camera assistant.
“It is now known that the alleged basis for Watkins’ termination was simply a ruse to fire him without cause,” the suit alleges.
Watkins is suing Sony, Woodridge Productions, and Benson, as well as co-executive producer William Roe and Jordan Feiner, a senior VP at Sony.
“Our client believes he is the victim of an unlawful termination and scorched earth campaign to discredit him professionally,” William Brewer III, Watkins’ attorney, said in a statement. “To date, he has been denied any true explanation for his termination or the opportunity to confer with Human Resources — all in apparent violation of the rights Sony should afford to its employees.”