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Michael Kassan Files Defamation Lawsuit Against Attorney Bryan Freedman Over UTA Split

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The latest development in the ongoing dispute between UTA and former MediaLink chairman-CEO Michael Kassan involves Kassan filing a defamation lawsuit against UTA attorney Bryan Freedman.

Kassan’s lawsuit against Freedman alleges slander and libel, prompted by a statement made by the lawyer to Deadline earlier this week. The statement, published on March 25, referred to Kassan as a “pathological liar.” This legal action comes in the midst of Kassan’s recent departure from UTA, which occurred amid a series of legal and arbitration proceedings, along with heated allegations exchanged between both parties.

“The complaint reflects Michael Kassan’s determination to hold Mr. Freedman accountable for his calculatedly malicious and defamatory remark,” stated Kassan’s attorney Sanford Michelman. “Making such a statement demonstrates that Mr. Freedman and UTA’s actions are solely aimed at obstructing Mr. Kassan’s ability to compete, as alleged in Mr. Kassan’s arbitration demand.”

In its allegations against Kassan, UTA has claimed that the veteran advertising industry executive engaged in excessive spending and misappropriated company funds for personal expenses. In response, Kassan has accused UTA of breaching agreements established during the talent agency’s acquisition of MediaLink for $125 million in late 2021. Kassan’s lawsuit against Freedman is seeking $125 million in damages.

In a statement, Freedman stood by his previous remark and reiterated the agency’s stance that Kassan’s actions exceeded acceptable boundaries.

“Facts are not defamation. Michael Kassan’s continuous baseless filings and statements are nothing more than an attempt to create a false media narrative and divert attention from his fraudulent activities,” stated Freedman. “Today we filed our response rejecting all of Kassan’s arbitration claims. While MediaLink will continue to focus on providing excellent work for its clients, UTA will continue to pursue Kassan for the millions he stole.”

Kassan’s lawsuit alleges that Freedman’s comment was intended to sabotage Kassan’s prospects of launching a new venture. The parties have been in disagreement regarding whether Kassan was offered a $10 million severance package with a noncompete clause. Kassan insists he was offered the package but declined it, while UTA maintains that no such offer was extended.

“This statement by Freedman was malicious and intentional. In other words, it’s defamation through a non-compete clause. Freedman didn’t merely convey this to a handful of individuals; he disseminated it to numerous people through the Deadline article, aiming to cause maximum harm,” the lawsuit asserts. “Freedman, being a seasoned attorney, was well aware that his actions were unlawful. Furthermore, he has been involved in litigation previously and comprehends the potential impact of such tactics on an individual’s reputation. Freedman violated the law by defaming Kassan, and by extension, so did his clients as agents.”

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