The on-screen intrigue in the Natalie Portman thriller "Black Swan" is rivaled by behind-the-scenes backstabbing that cost a movie exec his valuable producer's credit, a new lawsuit alleged Thursday, according to a report in the New York Post.
Executive Rick Schwartz alleged that the former president and COO of his production company botched the film's financing -- which included "criminally usurious" loans -- while stealing away a key assistant he was also "pursuing" sexually to launch his own business.
Schwartz said the alleged chicanery led his partners in the critically acclaimed film to relegate him to the post of "executive producer," meaning he will not share the stage if it wins any Oscars or Golden Globe awards.
The Manhattan federal court suit seeks $10 million-plus in damages from ex-employee Aaron Kaufman, who's accused of breaching his contract and "fiduciary duty," along with "misappropriation of corporate opportunity."
In an interview, Kaufman denied all of the allegations, calling the suit "obviously baseless" and saying: "the stuff about my personal life is completely libelous."
"This is obviously a spiteful person who is trying to use the courts to embarrass me," he said.
Kaufman said that at the time he left the company, Overnight LLC, Schwartz was "literally begging" him to stay.
"Unfortunately, sometimes partnerships go south, and this is one of them, and this is him trying to scorch earth," he said. "Nothing will come of this. It's completely baseless."