Actor Timothy Hutton is suing the producers of the TV show Leverage after they dropped him from the lead role in the reboot of the popular series. Hutton claims he has been blacklisted over unsubstantiated #MeToo allegations.
Timothy Hutton, who won an Oscar in 1981 for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ordinary People, claims he has been wrongly blacklisted. According to Variety, “Timothy Hutton has sued the producers of the TV series Leverage: Redemption, alleging that they breached his contract when they dropped him from the show following a report of a sexual assault allegation.”
The show was rebooted to stream on IMBD TV, but Hutton was replaced by former ER star Noah Wyle. The sexual assault allegation was made public in March 2020. A report from BuzzFeed said a woman had gone to the Vancouver Police Department, alleging that Hutton had raped her in 1983 when she was 14.
“[A] woman came forward claiming Hutton raped her in 1983,” Breitbart reported. “Hutton says it’s a lie, that this woman has spent years extorting him for millions. The authorities in British Columbia, Canada took a look and didn’t move forward with prosecution. And now… it’s impossible for Timothy Hutton to prove he did not do something, to prove a negative,” the outlet furthered.
“Hutton claims [his accuser Sera Johnston] fabricated the accusations to extort him. He also alleges Florida-based attorney Jeff Herman demanded $1.5 million to resolve Johnston’s claims,” the Hollywood Reporter said. “According to the suit, Herman has publicly admitted to bringing untrue and false allegations against four high-profile people in the entertainment industry, for which he was sanctioned.”
The Florida Supreme Court found Attorney Jeff Herman “guilty of professional misconduct” and suspended him from practicing in the state for 18 months for “dishonest and deceitful” activities. However, a tentative settlement, which would’ve paid Sera Johnston $135,000, fell apart when Timothy Hutton continued to deny that the assault occurred.
“Doubtless [Leverage producer Electric Entertainment] also would have found the accusations to be utterly without merit — if it had bothered to conduct an investigation,” reads Hutton’s complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. “But if it could not be bothered to do so, then Electric could have simply paid Hutton not to work, as studios have done since time immemorial. What it could not do was invoke the BuzzFeed article as a basis for evading its pay-or-play obligation.”
Electric Entertainment responded to Hutton’s lawsuit. “[O]nce we learned of the allegations in the press, we ceased negotiations with him and chose to move on without him. His baseless allegations against us are without merit and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves,” the company said. “Despite dealing with these allegations for years, Mr. Hutton failed to disclose them to us before or during negotiations for him to reprise his role in ‘Leverage: Redemption.’”
Hutton’s attorney, Dale Kinsella, said in a statement that the lawsuit is a “last resort.” The show has moved on without Hutton and now all the Oscar-winner can gain is monetary damages, Hutton’s lawyer explained. The suit also alleges that Electric has violated the pay-or-play provision of Hutton’s agreement and still owes him at least $3 million.
Timothy Hutton rose to the highest ranks in Hollywood when Robert Redford took a chance and cast the twenty-year-old as teenager Conrad Jared in his 1980 film Ordinary People. It was Redford’s first time directing. He won the Oscar for Best Director, and the film won Best Picture. Hutton was also married to actress Debra Winger, and they have one son.
The #MeToo movement has done much to bring sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein to justice. In cases like Bill Cosby and R. Kelley, we saw a brave group of women who banded together to come forward and give other victims courage. They were an excellent example of the #MeToo movement in our country. However, some say we need to be very careful who we brand a sexual predator to ensure we don’t find ourselves on a modern-day witch hunt.