Bill Nye, creator of hit 90’s kids’ science show Bill Nye the Science Guy and later The Eyes of Nye, aimed at a more adult audience, is arguably a long-standing social justice warrior in addition to being an excellent authority on science. Nye is currently at the forefront of the public eye in a different capacity.
This time due to a court case in which he is suing Disney for $28 million, over a dispute regarding the profits of his hit show Bill Nye the Science Guy. The show aired on PBS from 1993-98, was hugely popular, and earned 23 Emmy nominations and 19 wins.
Nye, alongside other plaintiffs, claims to have been wangled out of $28.1 million by the mega-corporation, with Nye himself being owed $9.4 million. For those of us less legally-astute, the long and short of it is this: Disney allegedly misreported the profits from the show, shafting Nye and other co-creators out of their rightful share, as outlined in their distribution deal.
Allegedly, Beuna Vista Television had a deal with Disney that would result in 50% of profits from the show to be distributed amongst the owners. But, according to Nye, this was not to be.
Nye Claims He Is Owed Millions
Just recently, a judge in California ruled that the Science Guy and presenter’s lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company may head to trial, albeit with limited claims. According to Newsweek, “Nye’s lawyers expressed disappointment with Thursday’s ruling, in which the judge ruled out their claim that Disney had breached a fiduciary duty to the Science Guy, but they were looking forward to exposing some of Disney’s ‘improper accounting practices'” in the upcoming trial.
Perhaps Nye took inspiration from Cinderella, who says “just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.” Or maybe he’s following Hercules example and “will go the distance” required to force Disney to its knees.
All Will Be Resolved In A Few Months
It’s been two years since the lawsuit was filed, and the case is finally going to trial, scheduled for May 2020.
If the claims are true, this would not be the first time Disney has been subject to controversial new coverage. In 2018, the Guardian published an article stating that “while Disney’s profits soar through the stratosphere and its CEO receives an unimaginable amount of money, the wages and benefits for its workers are atrocious.”
Aside from having a conveniently rhymable name, Nye also possesses a demonstratable sense of personal responsibility regarding a plethora of issues ranging from scientific, to political, to human rights concerns. He has a history of being a passionate campaigner and advocator of climate change action and the New Green Deal. In September 2012, Nye claimed that creationist views threaten science education and innovation in the United States.
The Suit Almost Got Thrown Out
On his social media, Nye appears as an endearing character. In one post on his Instagram feed, he is pictured sporting a t-shirt with the slogan “Climate Change Cannot Be De-Nye’d”.
Witty attire aside, according to FoxNews, Nye is ‘also seeking punitive damages arising from how the company has, “a long and consistent pattern of under-reporting revenue and improperly applying deductions.”‘ The plot thickens, as the House of Mouse also claimed that Nye took “too long” to file his complaint after he became suspicious, and attempted to get the suit thrown out in May 2019.
The outcome remains to be seen as Walt Disney, named as Forbes’ No.1 “best-regarded” company in 2018 and with an estimated net worth of $130 billion, and much-loved presenter Bill Nye go head-to-head in what will surely prove to be an interesting case.
This guy ain’t one to let things fly, that’s for sure.
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