TV presenter, engineer and science educator William Nye — widely known as “Bill Nye the Science Guy” — has filed a fraud suit against Disney that some media outlets are valuing at more than $37 million.
“Bill filed docs Thursday in L.A., saying Disney — which marketed and distributed his show — cut him a check in 2008 for back-end profits,” TMZ reports. “The check was for $585k, but a couple months later he says Disney drastically changed it’s story … and claimed he needed to return $496,000!
“According to the docs, Disney told Bill it made an accounting error, and informed him he wouldn’t get any future checks until it recouped the $496k.”
The exchange reportedly made Nye suspicious, and he subsequently called for an audit of Disney’s books, which was conducted in 2016.
“In the docs, Bill says the auditor found he’d been shorted by $9.3 mil since signing his deal in 1993,” TMZ reports. “Bill’s now retained attorneys at Hamrick & Evans to get his dough.”
Deadline notes that the value of the suit could turn out to be much higher, reporting that Nye “is suing the Walt Disney Company and a host of its subsidiaries … for more than $37 million, alleging he didn’t receive his fair share of the net profits generated by his long-running series ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy.'”
The Deadline report quotes the 28-page complaint, filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court: “Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that as a direct and proximate result of the Defendants’ breach of fiduciary duty, Plaintiff has suffered damages in the amount of not less than Nine Million Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Five Hundred Sixty dollars (USD$9,350,565.00), the final amount to be proven at trial.”
The complaint, as quoted by Deadline, then adds: “Plaintiff is further informed and believes and thereon alleges that the Defendants, by breaching their fiduciary duties, enriched themselves, at the expense of the Plaintiff and the BNSG Owners, obtaining ill-gotten profits of not less than Twenty Eight Million Fifty One Thousand Six Hundred Ninety Five dollars (USD$28,051,695.00).”