Fox executives engaged in “intentional fraud and malice” in connection with a dispute over the TV series “Bones,” an arbitrator said, ordering 21st Century Fox to pay $179 million in the case, the AP reports. The dispute over profits from the series had the company squaring off against the show’s stars and executive producer.
“The decision was reached earlier this month and revealed in a court petition from the plaintiffs Wednesday demanding that Fox pay, a decision Fox said it would contest,” the AP reports.
The report adds: “Arbitrator Peter Licthman, a retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge, rebuked top Fox executives by name for self-dealing and deceit and his decision includes $128 million in punitive damages, calling the sum ‘reasonable and necessary to punish Fox for its reprehensible conduct and deter it from future wrongful conduct.’”
The total figure is one of the largest ever in a dispute over a TV series, the report notes.
“Lichtman said that Fox executives ‘engaged in a pattern and practice of fraudulent self-dealing by which it enriched itself’ at the expense of the ‘Bones’ producers and stars, who were owed a cut of profits,” the AP reports.
“David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, the stars of ‘Bones’ in its run from 2005 through 2017, sued 21st Century Fox in 2015, saying it denied them profits by licensing the show to Fox’s TV division and to Hulu for below-market rates,” the report notes. “They were joined by executive producer Barry Josephson and Kathy Reichs, who authored the novels ‘Bones’ is based on. The case went to private arbitration in 2016.”