As a New York City jury begins deliberations in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial today, Breakdown Services, a dominant casting force in Hollywood, has just been slapped with a lawsuit from a long-time staffer claiming sexual assault, highly negligent management methods & an atmosphere of aggression and disregard.
“Defendants hired a convicted sex offender to a supervisory position where he harassed, threatened, and raped Plaintiff,” alleges a Harassment, Retaliation, Wrongful termination and Discrimination action filed this morning in Los Angeles Superior Court against the long-established Gary Marsh-founded end-to-end organization.
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Amidst claims of “willful destruction of Plaintiff’s sense of well-being,” Breakdown Services themselves are named as defendants in the jury seeking civil action, as are Marsh, the company’s director of operations Kathleen Bueche. Also named is Jamal Bryant, the supervisor who allegedly raped former Breaking Services customer services assistant Deana Maioli in September last year in a company parking lot.
“Defendants paid no attention to Plaintiff’s desperate pleas for help, and when they finally did listen, violated her privacy and made her out to be the wrongdoer,” adds the suit from 12-year employee Maioli via her lawyer Luke Sheldon.
A search of California’s registered sex offender database does reveal a Jamal Bryant recently living in L.A. County. Released from prison in 2014, the individual on the Megan’s Law list was convicted in 2008 of “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age.”
Remarkably, not only was there apparently no significant background research on Bryant by Breakdown Services, but he was put in charge of the company’s sexual harassment training program – a program that today’s complaint claims Maioli had to sit through after the alleged rape occurred.
“Bryant became aware that Plaintiff was unhappy with her hourly wage and/or position in the company,” the 21-page unspecified damages seeking suit notes of Maioli’s attempt to get a raise from the $17.75 she was making. “Bryant promised Plaintiff raises, promotions, and/or other job benefits in exchange for Plaintiff engaging in sexual acts with him,” the comprehensive documents continue. “Bryant also informed Plaintiff that through his role with Breakdown he could learn Plaintiff’s home address even though Plaintiff did not want to provide it to him,” it adds of the immediate period before the rape approximately six months ago.
“After the violent sexual assault, Bryant used his position and authority as Plaintiff’s supervisor to humiliate, harass, and intimidate Plaintiff on a near daily basis,” the compliant from attorney Sheldon states. “Bryant’s pernicious actions revictimized Plaintiff, compounding the harm.”
“In an effort to prevent Plaintiff from reporting the rape to police or Human Resources and/or to coerce Plaintiff into a personal relationship that was to his liking, Bryant threatened Plaintiff on multiple occasions,” the paperwork asserts over the week that followed the claimed assault.
Founded in 1971 and now with offices in LA, Vancouver, NYC, Toronto, Marsh’s Breakdown Services has dominated the theatrical casting software business for decades. Recognized by the Casting Society of America, it has faced challengers over the years, most recently Casting Networks a couple of years ago, which took a sizable market share away from Breakdown Services via a deal with Fox. Following Disney’s formal acquisition of Fox assets last year, Breakdown Services has reestablished itself as the preeminent player in the space, which the majority of casting directors and talent agents rely on daily.
Representatives from Breakdown Services did not respond to requests for comment from Deadline on today’s lawsuit.
Similar to the plaintiff in this case, defendant Bryant is no longer working at Breakdown Services, having quit late last year after being hired in July 2019. As of yet, sources confirm, there has been no police report filed against Bryant by the plaintiff for the alleged rape.
“The stress, fear, and anxiety that Bryant’s behavior caused was extraordinary, but it is rivaled in terms of audacity and offensiveness by the actions and inactions of Marsh, Bueche, and Breakdown,” the nine-claim complaint put before LASC on Tuesday bluntly says. “Plaintiff attempted numerous times to complain about Bryant to Human Resources and/or management at Breakdown,” it details. “Every attempt made by Plaintiff to ensure her safety and wellbeing was ignored, rebuffed, or disregarded by Marsh, Breakdown and Breakdown’s management.”
Specifically, Maioli says she was first sent home and then suspended from her job by Bueche after reporting the rape to her on October 4, 2019. “The decision to send Plaintiff home sent a clear message to Plaintiff’s colleagues that Breakdown considered Plaintiff to be in the wrong,” the complaint states of the employee who had made it clear she wanted to continue at work. “Plaintiff was being punished and now everyone in the office could see the result of her complaint after many of them had already heard the substance.”
And supposedly, everyone in the relatively small Breakdown Services LA office did see and hear everything that day in early October last year after Maioli informed “Bueche in no uncertain terms that Bryant sexually assaulted her.”
“Bueche called Plaintiff back into her office, a space that, in addition to being visible to other employees, was known to offer no audio privacy,” the wide-ranging suit details. “Marsh and Bueche then forced Plaintiff to repeat the details of her rape loudly on speakerphone to Marsh and Marsh’s wife, Leanne Adachi, while a group of employees gathered outside to listen, their presence obvious.”
“Plaintiff was not asked if she was comfortable sharing these details with a man,” Maioli’s action says in what is clearly the invasion of privacy part of her claims. “She was not told why Ms. Adachi, who had no discernable role with the company, was on the call. She was not given a private space to speak. She was given no consideration whatsoever. Marsh, Bueche, and Breakdown forced Plaintiff to relive her trauma and suffer a new humiliation in front of an audience.”
Having received permission to sue from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing after having “fully exhausted all administrative remedies,” Maioli is seeking “injunctive and declaratory relief necessary to ensure defendants provide a safe workplace free of sexual violence, harassment, and/or discrimination” at Breakdown Services, among other forms of judicial and financial relief.
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