All crises — whether arising from a corporate emergency, a catastrophic event, or negative publicity — require a coordinated response on an expedited timeline. Sidley has a proven track record helping clients manage media and entertainment crises requiring the quick action, strategic insight, and litigation know-how critical to protecting a company’s business and reputation. Working closely with our clients in both responding to and handling crises in the media and entertainment industry, we provide tailored solutions to address the circumstances of all situations.
Sidley has a long tradition of helping media and entertainment clients navigate the legal and business complexities of content creation, aggregation, distribution, and disposition. We represent a broad spectrum of domestic and international clients in the media space, such as financial and strategic buyers, financiers, major studios and independent production companies, television networks, studios and production companies, digital aggregators and distributors, technology companies, music companies, and interactive and social media companies. Sidley’s Media and Entertainment Crisis Management team has deep industry-specific experience with complex transactions, financings, cutting-edge distribution deals, tax matters, high-profile litigation, restructurings, and regulatory matters. We use an industry-focused approach to draw upon the significant relevant experience of our lawyers across practice areas to deploy swift, well-planned crisis responses.
Major companies and their boards across the media and entertainment industry seek our counsel in an emergency because we provide thoughtful, seamless advice for multi-faceted crises. Harnessing our firm’s global resources, Sidley is able to quickly assemble the right team for complex transactional, regulatory, and litigation matters in the media and entertainment sector that span multiple legal disciplines.
Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Experience
We have decades of experience serving as the “first response” team in the face of media and entertainment crises to establish and manage both the initial and long-term legal strategies, and assist with remediation efforts. Our work includes:
- Internal investigations, including whistleblower complaints
- Response to investigations by the Department of Justice (DOJ), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), state Attorneys General and other oversight bodies
- Advising boards, audit and special committees
- Counseling on compliance, governance, litigation risks and potential exposure arising from alleged misconduct, investigative findings, and negative publicity
- Cybersecurity breach incidents response and prevention
- Congressional inquiry or subpoena response
- Managing legal, policy, political, or public relations considerations related to an investigation
- Securities disclosure issues
- Sexual misconduct and other employment-related allegations
Sidley’s Media and Entertainment Crisis Management team understands the level of trust that is required to handle the challenges that arise during and after a crisis. Our lawyers know how to balance internal and external effects, relationship dynamics, and optics. We have decades of experience serving as our clients’ first response team in the face of public crises, establishing and managing both the initial and long-term legal strategy. Our team works seamlessly across legal disciplines and time zones to help clients navigate these crises so they can focus on achieving their global business objectives.
Sidley’s Media and Entertainment Crisis Management team has represented the following:
- A hospitality industry client in responding to and managing the aftermath of a catastrophic event, including assessing litigation risk and shaping defense strategy, conducting witness interviews, and preparing pleadings-based and substantive defenses to tort claims, evaluating and retaining expert witnesses across multiple disciplines, and working with multiple internal stakeholders in developing crisis management procedures and responses.
- A former senior officer of a National Football League (NFL) team in a high profile NFL investigation into the organization’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct – a scandal that has garnered significant media attention.
- Global broadcast giant beIN Media Group (beIN) in a high-profile crisis and politically charged international dispute with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). beIN’s claims arose from the KSA-led economic blockade of Qatar and involve a complex intersection of television sports rights, unprecedented broadcast piracy, IP and criminal law, investment and trade law, competition law, and Middle East politics. After commencing investment treaty arbitration against KSA claiming damages in excess of US$1 billion, as well as other representations and advocacy efforts on behalf of beIN, Sidley secured a landmark victory for Qatar against KSA in the WTO in June 2020 addressing certain aspects of the broader dispute. After Sidley’s wide-ranging international pressure was brought to bear, beoutQ’s pirate transmissions ceased. The parties are currently engaged in settlement negotiations, and tackling sports broadcast piracy has become a global priority.
Click here for a pdf of our Media and Entertainment Crisis Management and Strategic Response brochure.