Tara Flynn, a rising star in show development at TV studio Fox 21, walked into her boss’s office in August to announce she was leaving for a job at Netflix Inc.
Her boss said she was under contract, and Flynn replied that she wasn’t asking permission, according to people familiar with the conversation. She had little to lose. Netflix said her contract wasn’t enforceable in California, and promised to cover any legal fees, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
Flynn’s departure is just one of the latest examples of Netflix’s aggressive hiring as it builds its own empire.
Parent company 21st Century Fox Inc. took its grievances a step further, suing Netflix last month for allegedly encouraging Flynn and a film marketing executives to break their contracts. “Netflix is defiantly flouting the law by soliciting and inducing employees to break their contracts,” the media company said in its statement. “We intend to seek all available remedies to enforce our rights and hold Netflix accountable for its wrongful behavior.” Netflix declined to comment on the suit. Flynn referred questions to Netflix.
While Hollywood relies on fixed-term contracts, they aren’t enforceable, Netflix has said. The company wants to set a precedent that it can take employees from other companies -- if those employees want to leave.