8:40am PT by Eriq Gardner
Former MTV Star Drops Legal Claim Against Sumner Redstone's Girlfriend (Exclusive)
Sumner Redstone and his Viacom unit have one less problem after Electric Barbarellas star Heather Naylor withdrew a claim on Monday that Sydney Holland, the 43-year-old girlfriend of the 91-year-old mogul, interfered with the aborted MTV series.
Naylor targeted Holland after being accused in an August 2013 lawsuit of stealing Holland's computer, containing "confidential emails" and "private and personal photographs," from Redstone's Beverly Park home. In counterclaims, Naylor — a singer who starred on Electric Barbarellas between 2011 and 2013 — charged Holland with taking control of Redstone's life, firing many of his longtime staff, changing his phone number to filter the information he receives, and persuading him to pull support for the MTV series.
The dispute dripped with all sorts of potential trouble for Redstone and Viacom, who weren't direct parties to the litigation but were confronted with prying demands ranging from information about Redstone's relationship with women, lie-detector tests administered to Redstone's household staff, and Holland's communications with Viacom employees. In recent weeks, the two sides had even discussed a deposition of Redstone. Among other topics, the line of questioning might have included Redstone's plans after his death. Naylor's lawsuit claimed that Holland has been added as a beneficiary in Redstone's will.
Naylor said she too had a good relationship with Redstone until Holland "grew jealous...and made efforts to cut off all ties between Redstone and Naylor so that Holland could control Redstone for her own economic advantage."
But in the months after Naylor filed the cross-complaint, she's been having trouble identifying with enough specificity the nature of the supposed contractual interference. Naylor attempted to stress that MTV reduced its episode order for her show, but Holland's attorney has been telling the judge that MTV had sole discretion and control over the show and that Naylor's company was compensated on a "pay-or-play" basis. Last autumn, an amended cross-complaint was filed with a court hearing over the sufficiency of the claims scheduled for next month.
But on Monday, Naylor abruptly pulled her claim. Attorney Neville Johnson confirms the withdrawal and says he's no longer representing her. Holland attorney Patty Glaser, who has maintained that her client had nothing to do with Barbarellas' demise, also has no further information about what happened.