At the beginning of December, Deirdre and Scott Gurney, who were co-CEOs of Gurney Productions, the company that brought us Duck Dynasty, were "temporarily suspended amid an internal fraud investigation".
Variety later reported that their temporary suspension had turned into a permanent termination from ITV, which bought Gurney Productions in 2012. A Gurney Productions spokesperson released a statement regarding the married couples' termination.
"Following a meeting with Scott and Deirdre Gurney, the Board of Gurney Productions has been left with no alternative but to terminate their employment and file a lawsuit in the Superior Court of California on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract,” the statement read.
ITV's lawsuit alleges that the Gurney's secretly set up a new company called Snake River Productions and used to to buy distributing rights for a new reality show, Northern Territory, from Gurney Productions.
After a December board meeting, ITV claimed the Gurneys had charged over $500,000 in personal expenses to the company, including childcare payments, mortgage payments, travel costs, dues at their country club, and more. Read more about the lawsuit here.
Now, the Gurneys have countersued ITV for a tune of $100 million.
The suit claims that the Gurneys were "ambushed...with false accusations of impropriety, threats of termination and outright extortion - all targeted to the unlawful end of forcing the Gurneys to sell at an outrageously low price."
The Gurneys were ready to fight back, but "less than two hours later, [ITV] made good on their threats as multiple media outlets began reporting the alleged 'fraud'," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit also claims the Snake River Productions was not a secret company, but a company for "scripted television, game shows, and documentary films, none of which is prohibited by the agreements between the Gurneys and ITV".
ITV released a statement following Deirdre and Scott's countersuit.
“ITV absolutely refutes all of the allegations in this claim as completely baseless and without merit. We will be vigorously pursuing the lawsuit we filed against Scott and Deirdre Gurney in December, following the termination of their employment, on the grounds of self-dealing, fraudulent concealment and breach of contract.”
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