Universal Marketing Team in Chaos After Multiple Execs Exit
Jeff Shell and Donna Langley disclosed a full review of the studio's marketing department.
The shake-up in Universal’s marketing department is not over.
One day after top execs Jeff Shell and Donna Langley fired a marketing executive for “inappropriate conduct” and placed the president of the department on leave, sources say an investigation is still ongoing and further disciplinary action is likely.
On Wednesday, Universal revealed that it had fired Seth Byers, executive vp creative strategy and research, and put marketing chief Josh Goldstine on administrative leave in the wake of claims that were "both credible and indicative of an unacceptable climate."
Sources also tell The Hollywood Reporter that in late November, Universal launched an investigation of another marketing-division exec — senior vp creative advertising Scott Abraham. He was terminated for alleged sexual misconduct.
"That is categorically untrue," Abraham said. "My contract was up and I moved on and have no ill will about Universal." The studio had no comment.
The reaction to Abraham’s dismissal led to another wave of complaints about the environment in the marketing department. Universal then launched a second investigation, which led to Byers’ dismissal and Goldstine’s leave.
Investigators have been brought in from NBCUniversal and parent company Comcast. Goldstine will remain on leave while the inquiry continues, but could face further discipline. Other employees could face reprimands, cuts in their bonuses or more severe action.
The department-wide review and mandatory in-person respect-in-the-workplace training is meant to address what one source called the department's "Mad Men atmosphere."
The overhaul in Universal's marketing department is the latest fallout from a wave of industry-wide sexual harassment allegations that began in October with reports of decades-worth of accusations leveled against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"Our highest priority is to provide a working environment where every employee feels heard, seen and safe," Langley and Shell said in their note to studio staff.