×

Paradigm Slams Ex-Agent as a Backstabber Who Lied About Prostitutes

Sam Gores
Stewart Cook/Variety/Shutterstock

Paradigm Talent Agency fired back on Thursday against Debbee Klein, the high-level TV agent who filed an explosive suit against the company last week.

In a motion to compel arbitration, the agency’s attorneys slammed Klein as a backstabber who allegedly fabricated allegations about prostitution in the lawsuit. The motion also alleges that Klein’s abusive behavior in the office had caused several other employees to leave the agency.

“The problem with Klein is that she is an abusive, brazen, and repugnant person who routinely clashed with others at Paradigm,” the motion states. “Klein’s often abusive and brazen treatment of agents she considered a threat was well-known at Paradigm, and one of the many reasons that the company hesitated in accepting her ever growing demands during her latest contract negotiations.”

Klein filed the suit on April 1, alleging that she had been fired in breach of an oral agreement. She accused Paradigm CEO Sam Gores of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to get rid of agents that he believed were overpaid.

She also leveled a series of allegations at Gores, claiming that he used company funds to pay for prostitutes for himself and others. She claimed that Gores had recently fired his executive assistant, who confided in Klein about the prostitutes. She also claimed that Gores tried to defraud his lenders by pressuring Klein to loan the company $500,000 of her salary, in an effort to make the balance sheet look better.

In addition, she accused Gores of lying about the reasons for the failure of a merger with UTA. She alleged that Gores’ partners had forced him to back out of the deal, but that he had falsely portrayed the decision as his idea.

In response, Paradigm produced a sworn declaration from Gores’ former executive assistant, who remains unnamed, asserting that the prostitution claims are a fabrication.

“In the approximately 18 years I worked with Sam at Paradigm, he never once asked me to procure a prostitute for him or anyone else,” the former assistant said in the declaration.

Paradigm’s attorneys also denied Klein’s allegation about the $500,000, saying such a small amount would have made no difference to the agency’s lenders.

The motion also states, in a footnote, that Paradigm will file an arbitration claim against Klein seeking “several million dollars” for violations of her non-disparagement and confidentiality agreements.

In response, Klein’s attorney, Bryan J. Freedman, said Thursday that he has witnesses whom he cannot identify, some of whom still work at the company, and added that Paradigm has no credibility.

“Since disingenuously declaring a ‘force majeure’ and terminating/reducing hundreds of employees based on its ‘financial inability’ to perform on its contracts, suddenly, Paradigm has found millions of dollars to do everything possible to try and clean up Sam’s reputation,” Freedman said. “Employees that were either suspended without pay, suffered salary reductions or were terminated should be asking why the millions of dollars are being spent on the after the fact fund, the ParaTimes newsletter and motions in litigation to keep the case private instead of on their own contractural rights to payments and health insurance during this pandemic. Given these facts, it seems more like force manure than force majeure.”

Update: Paradigm hits back.

“Once again, Mr. Freedman has failed to get his facts straight,” a spokesperson said. “Paradigm is not spending millions of dollars to clean up Sam’s reputation, which has only been tarnished by the falsehoods in Ms. Klein’s lawsuit. In response to the frivolous lawsuit Mr. Freedman filed on behalf of Ms. Klein — which is replete with false statements, as evidenced by the motion Paradigm filed today — Paradigm was forced to involve its long time law firm. Because the lies in the lawsuit were reported in the media, it also had to involve public relations people to help interface with the media and its employees to ensure they were properly informed. But even all of this has not involved anywhere near a million dollars, let alone millions of dollars.”