Timothy Hutton is suing the producers of the IMDb TV series Leverage: Redemption. According to Variety, the Oscar-winning actor alleges that his contract was breached when he was dropped from the show after a sexual assault allegation was levied against him in a report.
In the report published in March 2020, Buzzfeed News wrote that a woman came forward to the Vancouver Police Department, alleging Hutton raped her in 1983 when she was 14. The woman, Sera Johnston, said she and her friends were invited back to Hutton’s hotel, where the actor allegedly assaulted her. Hutton denied the allegations, saying they were “patently false and designed only to extort money from him.” British Columbia prosecutors did not press charges against the actor.
When Buzzfeed News piece was released, Leverage: Redemption had been picked up as a revival of the five-season TNT show Leverage, and Hutton was preparing to reprise his role as Nathan Ford. After the allegations came to light, however, the production company, Electric Entertainment, cut him from the rebooted series. Ultimately, Hutton was replaced by Noah Wyle.
Hutton alleges that Electric Entertainment failed to investigate the sexual assault allegation and ignored evidence that Hutton’s representatives showed which challenged the claim, per Variety. The suit also alleges that Electric Entertainment violated Hutton’s pay-or-play provision in his contract and that the production company owes him about $3 million.
An oral agreement had been made with Hutton’s representatives where he would have been paid $175,000 per episode, with the addition of directing at least one episode per season, according to the suit. The contract reportedly lacks “morals clause.”
In a statement, Electric Entertainment said that though it hasn’t been serve just yet, Hutton’s suit is “without merit.”
“We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously, especially when children are involved. Despite dealing with these allegations for years, Mr. Hutton failed to disclose them to us before or during negotiations for him to reprise his role in Leverage: Redemption,” the company told Deadline. “Consequently, once we learned of the allegations in the press, we ceased negotiations with him and chose to move on without him. His baseless allegations against us are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves.”
Update, 3/1: In a statement to The A.V. Club, Dale Kinsella from Hutton’s legal team wrote, “This was a flagrant and pretextual breach of an agreement that had been done for weeks before Electric Entertainment decided there was no deal. Worse, Electric made this decision without any investigation whatsoever. While nobody relishes the prospect of litigation, this course of action is a last resort to hold Electric Entertainment to its obligations. We look forward to presenting our claims to a jury and are confident it will reject Electric’s purported reliance on unsubstantiated and frivolous charges.”