Fired Executive Accuses Netflix And Amazon Of 'Cutthroat And Unlawful Campaign' To Blacklist Him In Million-Dollar Lawsuit

A former Netflix executive has filed a $US1 million lawsuit claiming the company engaged in a vicious campaign to get him fired from his new job at Amazon by falsely accusing him of stealing trade secrets.

Netflix’s former director of content acquisition, Jerry Kowal, filed the lawsuit, which also names Amazon as a defendant. That suit says he left for a new job on Amazon’s digital video team in June 2013 after realising Netflix had a “toxic culture.” On his way out the door, Kowal claims, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told him he would “regret going to Amazon.”

Indeed, Netflix began its “retaliatory campaign” against Kowal just a week after he started working for Amazon, according to the complaint, which was posted online by The Hollywood Reporter. In front of 200 Netflix employees and board members, Sarandos and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings allegedly said the company was investigating Kowal for using stolen trade secrets to compete against his former employer.

Kowal says Amazon fired him even though he was ultimately cleared of any trade theft. According to the complaint, Amazon said it had a “strict liability” policy that mandated his termination. The complaint implies the two tech giants were conspiring against him:

The complaint does not create a very nice picture of the corporate culture at Netflix. From the complaint:

We reached out to Netflix, which said it does not comment on ongoing legal matters. We also reached out to Amazon and will update this post if we hear back.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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