‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye Accuses Disney of “fraudulent concealment” of royalties in $37 Million Fraud Lawsuit.
On August 24, 2017, beloved tv personality Bill Nye filed a $37 million lawsuit with The Walt Disney Company and its subsidiaries. He claims that the companies hid profits owed to him and owners of the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” show.
Nye became suspicious in 2008 when Buena Vista Television (BVT), a Disney subsidiary, paid him $585,123.00. The amount represented back-pay of his portion of the show’s profits. However, he was later told that the amount was an accounting error. BVT insisted that he was “overpaid” and now owed them $496,111.00. The company refused any future payments to Nye until he paid the amount back.
After several attempts to negotiate with Disney and BVT, he hired an auditor. However, his auditor was denied immediate access due to a three to four year waitlist. The audit did not begin until May 2016. According to Nye, Disney and BVT did not fully cooperate with providing the auditor with necessary documents. But despite full access to records, the audit uncovered that Nye had been underpaid by $9.4 million. Another $28 million is alleged to be owed to Nye’s show from the “fraudulent concealment” by Disney and BVT.
In November 2017, a judge ruled that Nye needed to provide extra support that demonstrated a joint venture. That is, he needs to show proof that he was willing to share both profits and losses. Nye’s lawyer said the issues would be easily addressed.