This is one of the craziest stories I ever heard of, and the year is just getting started.
And maybe its REALLY getting bad in Viacom if they are doing this to a storied franchise…
Viacom Inc was sued by a former vice president who said the media company fired her in retaliation for opposing its alleged plan to illegally avoid paying U.S. taxes on the international licensing rights for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
In a complaint filed on Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, Nataki Williams said she was fired in April 2014 while on maternity leave, after Viacom ignored her objections to its plan the prior year to transfer Ninja Turtles rights to a Netherlands-based entity solely to avoid the U.S. tax burden.
Williams said the licensing work was handled in New York, but Viacom arranged for minor work to be done in the Netherlands to make it appear as though the contracts were handled there.
The Irvington, New Jersey resident also said Viacom planned for the Netherlands entity to buy rights to other children’s characters like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, in a scheme that her bosses allegedly said could save millions of dollars.
What in the world is this? They are selling (not as hot, though) well enough. So you mean because the shows have become a tax burden on company, you going to sell the rights to the Dutch so you pay no taxes?
It gets worse folks:
Williams said she was fired as vice president for financial planning and analysis, ending more than six years of employment at Viacom, on the pretext that her benefits paperwork wrongly listed her child’s father, also named Williams, as a spouse.
She said Viacom caused the error, and that she held herself out as single.
“Ms. Williams was actually fired in retaliation for her internal whistle-blowing of an unlawful tax avoidance scheme that would have saved Viacom millions, and that Ms. Williams reasonably believed was fraudulent,” the complaint said.
In a statement, Viacom said Williams was fired for “fraudulently claiming company benefits to which she was not entitled. Her legal claims are completely without merit, and we will vigorously defend against these claims in court.”
So they fired her basically…because of a client on her child’s father? Does any major company in this world does this now?
If you remember, 4Kids sold the rights of the TMNT in 2009 to Viacom for a unknown sum. The movie rights were also moved to Paramount. So now it seems not only the TMNT but their two other Main Franchises (Dora and Spongebob) if this is true, have become tax burdens on the company. I would believe that animation series wouldn’t be such a massive hit on a company, but Viacom maybe in much worse shape than i realized if this scheme is true.
We will have more on this, because just like The VFX Scandals and the Disney-Dreamworks wage collusion scandal its is only the beginning.