Television star Bill Nye alleges he was underpaid by at least $9 million in a new fraud lawsuit, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Reporter reported Thursday that Nye filed the lawsuit that day in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Nye reportedly sued ABC, Buena Vista, Disney, Touchstone and several other subsidiaries for what he claims is unscrupulous accounting.
The former host of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” says he and several partners are entitled to half of the show’s net profits under their deal with Buena Vista Television (BVT). Nye’s complaint states that the companies involved have been misclassifying the program’s revenues and expenses, thus breaking their pact.
Some Twitter users on Friday expressed surprise over Nye’s lawsuit, which follows the original end of his namesake broadcast in 1998.
Nye maintains an “accounting error” in 2008 first made him skeptical of BVT’s royalty calculations. The television presenter also noted he hired an external auditor after years of “futile negotiations” to get corresponding records and explain the seeming mistake. Nye then sent a formal notice to the parties involved in 2014 notifying them of his intent to audit the records.
Disney responded that it was “backlogged with audits,” meaning Nye might have to wait three to four years before gaining his.
The audit ultimately started in May 2016, but Nye alleges the defendants failed to produce documents including license deals with Apple and Netflix and sales income from their websites.
Nye contends that Disney and its affiliates unfairly profited to the tune of $28 million from their actions.
The lawsuit he filed concerns fraudulent concealment, fraudulent inducement, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, among over claims. Nye is asking the court to order an accounting of the money he’s owed and is seeking both compensatory and punitive damages, plus disgorgement of any profits tied to the alleged fraud.
The presenter currently stars in Netflix’s “Bill Nye Saves the World,” and Nye said in June his new show has been renewed for a second season.