Current TV fired back against former on-air personality Keith Olbermann with both barrels on Friday, painting Olbermann as a petulant, unreliable employee.
A day after Olbermann filed a $50 million – $70 million wrongful-termination lawsuit against Current, the progressive TV channel has filed its own cross-complaint, alleging breach of contract.
Read the full cross-complaint here.
Calling Olbermann's lawsuit "frivolous" and "riddled with falsehoods and distortions," Current's cross-complaint claims that the former "Countdown" anchor repeatedly refused to promote Current, as per his contract, was chronically absent from work, and made false, disparaging comments about Current in the media.
"Current has every legal right to terminate Mr. Olbermann's services, rather than continuing to pay a princely sum while receiving a pauper's performance in return," the cross-complaint reads.
Current fired Olbermann on March 29, sparking a public war of words between the two sides that has quickly, as anticipated, become a matter for the courts.
Also read: Keith Olbermann Fired by Current TV
According to the cross-complaint, Olbermann breached his contract almost immediately after signing it by leaking the financial terms of the agreement to the media. Olbermann's suit against Current alleges it was someone inside the network who revealed his $50 million deal.
Olbermann's relationship with Current deteriorated rapidly over the past six months, with the irascible anchor allegedly refusing to promote the network in advertisements, help launch Current's other prime time shows and participate in election coverage — while disparaging Current at the same time. All of those would represent a breach of contract, Current argues.
The cross-complaint also alleges that Olbermann was absent 19 of 41 working days in January and February alone, took unauthorized vacation days at the last minute, failed to inform his "Countdown" staff when the show would not air, and "refused outright to speak with Current's Executive Vice President of Communications, and instructed his staff to do the same."
Olbermann's suit argued that Current distorted the truth about the days he missed and accused them of objecting to vacation after the fact.
Both suits cite emails to bolster their case. While Olbermann's detailed admissions of poor production quality and an inadequate studio, Current cites Olbermann's tempestuous behavior.
Olbermann allegedly threatened — in a fit of likely hyperbole — to kill certain employees, one of whom identified problems with Michael Moore's appearance on the show and another of whom leaked a photo of the "Countdown" set to the press. There is also a story of Olbermann throwing a glass, which could have endangered employees.