News & Opinion | June 5, 2018 1:20 pm

Relativity Memo Alleging Sexual Misconduct by Executive Ruled a Fake

Company tried to capitalize on #TimesUp movement to justify its firing of Adam Fields.

Producer Ryan Kavanaugh seen at Relativity Media's Gala Premiere of 'Out of the Furnace' at AFI Fest 2013, on Saturday, Nov, 9, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Relativity Media/AP Images)
Producer Ryan Kavanaugh seen at Relativity Media's Gala Premiere of 'Out of the Furnace' at AFI Fest 2013, on Saturday, Nov, 9, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Relativity Media/AP Images)

It’s the type of dramatic plot twist that wouldn’t be believable in a script: An arbitrator ruled Monday that Relativity Media executives created a fake memo alleging sexual harassment claims against a former executive.

That finding vindicates Adam Fields, whose former employers attempted to capitalize on the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements by using the memo as proof that the veteran producer was fired for cause. He was awarded $8.4 million in his bankruptcy filing as a result .

That filing included a transcript from ex-Relativity managing director Carol Genis who “refuted under oath that she had not written the memo outlining several allegations of sexual harassment by Fields, as Relativity Media executives, including former CEO Ryan Kavanaugh had said,” according to Variety.

Fields was first accused of sexual harassment several months ago, and parts of the memo were were referenced at the time in a Hollywood Reporter article.

But the plot thickened: Kavanaugh claimed to find the memo, allegedly written by Genis, although it was not in Fields’s personnel file.

Fields’s legal team successfully showed that “the memo had been fabricated, possibly by Kavanaugh, after a forensic audit found that someone with the user name ‘kav kav’ had altered the document,” according to Variety.

Fields’s attorneys also benefited from the testimony of an HR manager, Terri McAlpine, who said she did not know of any sexual misconduct claims against her former coworker.