Keith Olbermann files lawsuit against Current TV
Liberal commentator Keith Olbermann on Thursday filed a lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against his former employer Current TV, alleging he was wrongfully terminated in late March.
The lawsuit accuses the network of breach of contract, sabotage and disparagement.
Olbermann left MSNBC just over a year ago to became the face of Current TV, a new network owned by former Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt. Olbermann had signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the network.
On March 20, Current TV dismissed him, citing “unauthorized absences” and other issues.
Olbermann said the absences were the result of illness. If that is true, it is possible that Current TV violated federal and state medical leave laws.
Tension with Olbermann spilled out in the open at the start of the Republican primary season after he was sidelined during the network’s Iowa and New Hampshire coverage. Details later emerged in The Daily Beast in February that relations at Current TV headquarters had deteriorated to the point that Gore was forced to ask Olbermann to stay.
“Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it,” the network said in a statement.
Current TV replaced Olbermann with disgraced former governor Elliot Spitzer (D-NY), whose CNN show failed miserably and was finally cancelled in July 2011.
With prior reporting by Megan Carpentier