Franklin filed a lawsuit in April against writer Bryan Behar, who became the showrunner upon Franklin’s departure. Franklin accused Behar of spearheading a campaign to oust him by fabricating allegations and distorting incidents. He also accused Behar of leaking the allegations to the press.
In his response, Behar denied speaking to the press about the allegations. He also said he participated in an internal probe only reluctantly, and because he believed it was mandatory. Behar’s attorney attached a declaration from Silisha Platon, Warner Bros.’ vice president of labor relations, who led the internal investigation.
Platon confirmed that Behar was reluctant to participate, and that his testimony “only corroborated some of the less serious statements made by the other witnesses.”
She said that seven women were interviewed as part of the investigation, who related that Franklin had fostered a toxic work environment. One told the investigator that Franklin seemed angry at women and did not respect their opinions, while others quoted offensive comments he had made.
Regarding one staffer, Franklin allegedly said, “She is probably going to be pregnant next season. I wish I could make all the women on my staff get hysterectomies.”
Franklin would talk about orgies he had over the weekend, according to another woman. Two witnesses said that Franklin invited the writers to come to his mansion for the week, and the women were reminded to bring their bikinis.
Some related that Franklin was annoyed about having to hire female directors or directors of color. Once, when complaining about a female director, Franklin was told that he could have hired a different female director, to which he allegedly responded, “Please, they’re all the same.”
Platon also confirmed that Franklin had been investigated in 2016, after concerns were raised about Franklin’s handling of pregnancy-related requests. Franklin was also accused of treating men and women differently in the writers’ room.
“The investigation was concluded and Franklin received verbal counseling as to the necessity of appropriate, business-like behavior and equal treatment,” Platon said.
Following the 2018 investigation, Platon concluded that Franklin had created a toxic environment for women and people of color, and recommended that his contract not be renewed.
Behar is seeking to have the case dismissed, and is asking that Franklin be ordered to pay his attorneys’ fees.