Hollywood Docket: Weinstein Co. in Truffle Trouble After Canceled Golden Globes Bash

Plus, a 'Teen Mom' star sues Viacom for allegedly firing her because of her porn career, and Discovery settles a dispute over 'The Little Couple.'
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The Weinstein Co. is being sued by one of the world's most famous chocolatiers over this year's canceled Golden Globes bash.

Lindt & Sprungli claims it paid TWC $400,000 to sponsor three Golden Globes parties, one each in 2016, 2017 and 2018 — but hasn't been repaid more than $100,000 after this year's event was canceled. Netflix, the event's co-host, announced in November the party wouldn't happen, following a series of reports alleging decades of sexual misconduct by TWC co-founder Harvey Weinstein.

The truffle-maker claims it invoiced TWC in December and the company acknowledged the debt, but it still hasn't been paid. The suit comes amid speculation of either a potential sale or bankruptcy in the studio's near future.

Lindt is suing for breach of contract, conversion and unjust enrichment. TWC has not yet replied to a request for comment on the complaint.

In other entertainment legal news:

— Discovery Communications and LMNO Cable Group have settled their dispute over intellectual-property rights to the series The Little Couple, despite pushback from the show's stars. LMNO sued Discovery in 2016, claiming the network used an embezzlement scandal to steal the series. The companies indicated in January that they were nearing a settlement, but stars Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold asked the court to stop it, fearing it wouldn't leave anything for them to collect in their own lawsuit over contingent compensation. U.S. District Judge John Kronstadt denied their request on Wednesday and granted the parties' stipulation of dismissal with prejudice.

— Teen Mom star Farrah Abraham is suing Viacom for wrongful termination, alleging the company fired her from the latest iteration of the MTV franchise because of her adult-entertainment career. Abraham says she "feared for her life" when confronted and was "sex shamed" by an executive producer. She claims the show is illegally discriminating against her because she didn't conform to gender stereotypes of how women "should" act. Viacom issued a brief statement Wednesday in response: “We respect Farrah’s decision to pursue other endeavors and we wish her the best. Regarding her suit, the claims are without merit.”

— Paramount is being sued by an actress who claims Omar Epps improvised and broke her hand while filming a scene in which he murdered her for the USA series Shooter. Donzaleigh Abernathy says the actor, who is more than a decade her junior, was supposed to grab her wrist, spin her and choke her, but instead threw his forearm at her with full force. She says the move broke the ulna bone in her right hand. Abernathy also claims that the studio failed to place a mat on the floor for the scene and she also injured her back while filming. She's suing both Paramount and Epps for negligence and assault and battery. The studio has not yet commented.

— The legal fight over control of John Steinbeck's intellectual property appears to finally be over, after a California federal judge rejected both a request for a new trial and one for a permanent injunction. A jury in September awarded the author's stepdaughter $13 million, after U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter had previously granted summary judgment in her favor. Hatter on Feb. 9 held the jury's verdict to be a reasonable conclusion supported by substantial evidence.

— A judge will decide whether to toss a copyright lawsuit over The Cosby Show without hearing arguments. The Carsey-Werner Company in November sued BBC for allegedly using clips of the series in a documentary without permission. BBC argued the program was intended for broadcast in the U.K. and the lawsuit, which was filed in California federal court, should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Carsey-Werner argued the request should be denied because BBC filmed part of the doc in L.A., where both parties have offices — plus it claims 65 million people outside the U.K. regularly access BBC programming. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson on Thursday vacated a hearing scheduled for Monday, finding no appearances would be necessary.

The Wolf of Wall Street producers are asking the court to end a lawsuit from a former Stratton Oakmont lawyer who says he was defamed by the film. Andrew Greene in 2014 sued Paramount, Red Granite Pictures and others, claiming the character of Nicky "Rugrat" Koskoff, played by actor P.J. Byrne, was based on him and inaccurately portrays him as a sexist degenerate. In a motion for summary judgment filed earlier this month, the film's producers argue Greene has failed to show Koskoff was "of and concerning" him and, if the character in fact was, that the portrayal was false and defendants acted with malice.

"The various artists responsible for the content of the Film did not intend to say anything about Andrew Greene or the other Stratton employees because the Film did not have any intention of being literally true," states the filing, noting filmmakers gave most characters fake names to avoid the impression they were real people. "It attempted to capture social and artistic truths about human nature, an era in American history, and an economic system. Because the First Amendment gives Defendants the breathing space they need to create such works, summary judgment is required." (Read the full motion here.)

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