Actor Who Faked Salacious Emails from Paramount Executives Arrested on Perjury Charges
On September 20, 2021, actor Rovier Carrington was arrested for allegedly faking salacious emails used to target two Viacom executives in a $50 million suit alleging sexual abuse and misconduct. Carrington had initiated a civil action in 2018, accusing Paramount executives Brian Graden and Brad Grey of crimes, including sexual abuse, after they refused to produce his reality show.
To support his claims, Carrington had relied on several email chains with Brian Graden and Brad Grey. Graden is an executive, writer, and producer for Paramount who has held a variety of roles in the television industry including President of Entertainment for MTV and SVP of Development for Fox. Brad Grey was CEO of Paramount from 2005 until 2011, where he oversaw development of all feature films under the Paramount banner.
Although defense lawyers were convinced the emails were fake, it took more than a year of intense discovery to confirm their suspicions, including subpoenaing email hosting platforms, like those run by Google and Microsoft. The suit was tossed from the Southern District of New York in 2019 by Judge Katherine Failla, who described the process to get to the dismissal as “torturous.” At the time of dismissal, Judge Failla stated that she was considering referring the case to criminal authorities to investigate Carrington.
After his arrest, Carrington was presented to a federal court in Los Angeles for perjury charges and was released on bail. He faces up to a five-year term in prison if convicted in addition to over $600,000 in civil penalties from the previous civil case.
Executives, even those who are doing everything right, must still be vigilant of opportunistic suits against them. Sometimes “doing the right thing” is not enough. Although most complainants act in good faith in asserting harassment claims, executives can be targets for false claims by employees and others. Creating a distinct plan, including a rigorous document and data retention protocol, with counsel to determine immediate steps after any claims are made or lawsuit is filed can be crucial responding to false claims. Further, having a plan for crisis management and reputation protection should be in the minds of all executives who wish to escape these types of suits relatively unscathed.