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Former Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin is suing the company

Zappin contends he was wrong forced out of the company, while current Maker execs claim he left on his own.


Michelle Jaworski


Posted on Jun 27, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 12:30 pm CDT

Maker Studios co-founder (and former CEO) Danny Zappin and three other co-founders are suing the company for breach of contract and fraud.

Zappin stepped down as Maker Studios’s CEO last month to become a special advisor to his replacement, Ynon Kreiz. He’s now claiming that board members of Maker conspired against him to oust him from the company and diluted stock so they could get rid of him.

Maker Studios, one of the largest YouTube networks that has gained funding from Time Warner, has over 1,000 YouTube channels and regularly gets more than 1 billion views a month.

“Motivated by greed and unfazed by either the illegality or repercussions of their actions, members of Maker’s board […] conspired and agreed to use their power to line their pockets with Maker’s assets to deny Mr. Zappin, Maker’s then Chief Executive Officer, of all his powers, and to gut the rights of Common Stockholders,” the lawsuit alleged, which was filed in the Los Angeles County district of California state Court on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs have requested a temporary restraining order, a constructive trust over Maker Studios, the removal of the current board of directors, and unspecified monetary damages.Maker Studios has called the allegations “baseless” and regretted Zappin filing a lawsuit against the very company he co-founded. They plan 

In a  company email obtained by New Media Rockstars, Kreiz called the lawsuit “unfortunate and awkward” and alleged that Zappin actually stepped down as CEO in April—a month before Maker Studios actually made the announcement—and had initially appeared to be positive about the transition.

“About four weeks later Danny apparently had second thoughts about departing, hired lawyers to threaten litigation and effectively sought to unwind the clock,” Kreiz wrote.

Kreiz said that the company intends to respond to Zappin’s lawsuit.

The lawsuit comes just two months after Ray William Johnson, who left Maker Studios in October, announced plans to sue the company for refusing to return his AdSense account. He explained his side of the story a couple months later and mentioned numerous contentions with Zappin in the past.

H/T Variety | Photo via mipmarkets/YouTube

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*First Published: Jun 27, 2013, 6:08 pm CDT