Television host Keith Olbermann has filed a $50 million breach of contract lawsuit against Current TV, the Al Gore-created cable news channel that housed Olbermann’s “Countdown” show until he was fired at the end of March. Olbermann is accusing Current executives of running a substandard station and disclosing his salary in violation of a confidentiality clause.
Current says it fired Olbermann because he was “sabotaging the network,” missed work without permission and made disparaging his superiors at the network. In the breach-of-employment-contract lawsuit filed on April 5, Olbermann denies the accusations and says that Current’s frequent technical problems interfered with his ability to do his job.
The lawsuit claims that studio equipment would break down if it was raining and that earpieces and teleprompters frequently would not work. “Olbermann did not join Current to ruin his hard-won reputation and appear on a show that was an embarrassment,” the lawsuit said. Such technical problems should have been sorted out early on, not persisting eight months later, according to the suit.
Gore and Current’s co-founder terminated Olbermann on March 30 after months of tension. At the time, they said that Olbermann no longer reflected the network’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers.” Reports indicated that Olbermann had begun refusing to appear on other network shows or in commercials with other hosts.
Potentially complicating this wrongful termination lawsuit is the fact that Olbermann owns a stake in Current. His lawsuit alleges that continued technical and managerial problems have damaged the company’s value, harming his investment.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Olbermann’s fight with Current TV lands in court,” Anthony McCartney, April 7, 2012