‘Erin Brockovich’ Producer Sues Academy to Demand Vote on Proposed Social Media Plan

Oscar-nominated Michael Shamberg previously met with the AMPAS board to present his “Relevance Project”

Last Updated: July 20, 2020 @ 4:55 PM

“Erin Brockovich” producer Michael Shamberg has filed a lawsuit against the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences saying the board violated its bylaws when they did not allow for a vote on his proposal for a revised social media strategy.

Shamberg, who is a tenured AMPAS member who also unsuccessfully ran for a board seat back in June, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court and accused the Academy’s board of rejecting his proposal without following the proper rules. He’s asking for a judge to rule that not just the board, but all AMPAS members must vote on his bylaw amendments.

In January, Shamberg met with the Academy to propose amending AMPAS’ bylaws to include “state of the art social media” and “an annual member survey” in order to address what he says are the declining “relevance” of the Oscars. In an attached exhibit he presented to the board called “The Relevance Project,” he said that the Academy “doesn’t tell its own story very well” and does not tap into the social media presence of its full membership.

The Academy declined to comment.

The Academy’s general counsel Scott Miller said in a letter to Shamberg’s lawyer (as obtained by the New York Times) that the Academy’s board gave Shamberg “abundant consideration” for his proposals and was able to present “The Relevance Project” to the board in person.

“The fact that Mr. Shamberg disagrees with the academy’s social media strategy does not mean the board has failed to exercise reasonable business judgment in that area,” Miller wrote. “And it does not mean Mr. Shamberg is entitled to supplant their judgment with his.”

Though Oscars ratings have undeniably declined over the last decade, the Academy’s social media has 2.6 million followers on Instagram, 3.6 million on Twitter and is approaching 3 million on Facebook, and the Oscars digital pre-show even won an Emmy

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.

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