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Maker Studios co-founder sues the company

Daniel Zappin said executives conspired to oust him as CEO

It’s not often that a company’s founder decides to sue his own company—but that’s exactly what Daniel Zappin is doing.

Zappin, the co-founder of Maker Studios—a studio that produces programming for channels on YouTube—filed suit against the company yesterday, claiming breach of contract and fraud.

Last month, the studio announced that Zappin would be stepping down as CEO, and the company’s chairman Ynon Kreiz would be replacing him. In that announcement, Maker said Zappin would serve as a special adviser to Kreiz.

In his suit, which Zappin filed with three other co-founders— Scott Katz, Derek Jones and Will Watkin—studio executives  “conspired and agreed to use their power to line their pockets with Maker’s assets, to deny Mr. Zappin, Maker’s then chief executive officer (‘CEO’), of all of his powers, and to gut the rights of common stock shareholders to control Maker and its corporate activities.”

Maker Studios said in a statement that the suit is meritless and baseless. “We regret that Danny is taking this step and involving the company he co-founded in litigation.”

Maker Studios has more than 1,000 YouTube channels and brings in more than 1 billion viewers per month. Late last year, Time Warner bought a stake in the company, which led to a round of investment worth $36 million.

The plaintiffs are asking for a restraining order, a constructive trust over Maker Studios and that the current board be removed. The suit also seeks unspecified damages.

Read more about this story in Variety.

For more InsideCounsel stories involving the entertainment industry, see 5 celebrity lawsuits in the news.

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