Timothy Hutton reportedly is filing suit against Leverage producer Electric Entertainment, alleging that they breached his contract by dropping him from IMDb TV’s Leverage: Redemption sequel series while he took legal action against a sexual assault allegation.
As of Monday afternoon, however, TVLine hears that Electric has yet to be served with the suit.
The aforementioned sexual assault claim, filed as a criminal complaint in March 2020 by model/onetime child actress Sera Johnston, alleged that Hutton had raped her, then age 14, in a Vancouver hotel room in 1984. Hutton denied the allegation from go, claiming in a statement that Johnston had made “multiple extortion attempts … to extract millions of dollars from me,” and “threatened that if I did not meet her demands, she would go to the press with a false allegation that I sexually assaulted her 37 years ago in Canada.”
The month after Johnston filed her criminal complaint, the cast for Leverage: Redemption was announced — minus Hutton as team leader Nate Ford. Filming began in August 2020 and ran through March 2021, with Librarians alum Noah Wyle joining the ensemble. The revival opened with Nate’s wife Sophie (played by series vet Gina Bellman) a year into mourning his death from a seemingly cardiac event.
In July 2021, Hutton was officially cleared by Canadian law enforcement after they found “a glaring lack of support and proof of Ms. Johnston’s claim.”
Per our sister site Variety, Hutton’s suit claims that Electric Entertainment, of which Leverage executive producer Dean Devlin is CEO, did not independently investigate Johnston’s allegation and also ignored evidence that Hutton’s representatives had presented, challenging the claim.
The suit also claims that an “oral agreement” had been made regarding Hutton’s involvement in Redemption, and that his contract did not include a morals clause.
UPDATE (3 pm ET): Electric Entertainment on Monday afternoon responded with a statement saying, “We take allegations of sexual assault very seriously, especially when children are involved. 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. Consequently, once 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.”
UPDATE (4:30 pm ET): Hutton’s attorney, Dale Kinsella, in turn responded, “This was a flagrant and pretextual breach of an agreement that had been done for weeks before Electric Entertainment decided there was no deal. Worse, Electric made this decision without any investigation whatsoever. While nobody relishes the prospect of litigation, this course of action is a last resort to hold Electric Entertainment to its obligations. We look forward to presenting our claims to a jury and are confident it will reject Electric’s purported reliance on unsubstantiated and frivolous charges.”
Leverage: Redemption was renewed for Season 2 in December.