Ousted TV anchor Keith Olbermann filed a lawsuit Thursday accusing his former employer of breach of contract, sabotage and disparagement, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
According to the complaint, filed Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorney Patty Glaser of LA's Glaser Weil firm, Olbermann was terminated without cause a year into his five-year, $50 million contract with the Current TV network.
"This action is necessary as Current has repeatedly and willfully breached its written agreement with Olbermann, often continuing to do so after receiving specific notices to cure such breaches," states the complaint.
READ THE FULL COMPLAINT
The network co-founded by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt sent Olbermann a letter March 29 terminating his services.
"We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet," Gore and Joel Hyatt wrote in an "open letter" to viewers on Current's website.
"We are more committed to those goals today than ever before. Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."
Olbermann countered with his own statement:
I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.
Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt's "values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty," I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee.
That employee's name was Clarence B. Cain.
In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.
Olbermann abruptly left MSNBC in January 2011 after eight years, during which time the former sports news anchor became a favorite of progressives for challenging rivals at Fox News and elsewhere.
But he also faced criticism and publicly aired his frustrations with NBC's management. The 53-year-old was suspended from MSNBC for two days after the news website Politico revealed he had made donations to three Democrats.
Weeks after leaving MSNBC, the left-wing news personality inked a deal with Current Media, a company found by Gore and Hyatt. Besides hosting and producing his new prime time nightly news and commentary show, Olbermann was also named Current Media's chief news officer and had an equity stake in the company.
He relaunched his signature "Countdown" show last June, showcasing a host of liberal-leaning guests as well as the return of his "Special Comment" segment.
Gore and Hyatt announced that, starting Friday, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host an 8 p.m. show on the network -- the spot that had been occupied by Olbermann's show.
Spitzer worked at CNN for a time after leaving politics amid a scandal.
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