Universal marketing boss Josh Goldstine fired after inappropriate-conduct investigation

Ryan Faughnder, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

Universal Pictures' worldwide marketing president, Josh Goldstine, has been fired after a three-week investigation into inappropriate conduct at the studio, a person familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The investigation revealed that Goldstine had violated company policy, according to the person briefed on the matter who was not authorized to comment. The person did not specify the nature of the violation. Universal executives told employees of their decision to fire Goldstine on Tuesday. The studio has not named a replacement.

Goldstine, who oversaw all marketing operations for the Comcast-owned film company, was placed on administrative leave last month after Universal executives said they'd received allegations of behavior that created an "unacceptable climate" at the studio.

In a Feb. 14 note to staff, Universal Filmed Entertainment Chairman Jeff Shell and Universal Pictures Chairwoman Donna Langley said the company would launch an investigation into the marketing department "as part of a broader evaluation of the environment" at the studio.

"Our highest priority is to provide a working environment where every employee feels heard, seen and safe," they said.

The executives said they'd recently "received allegations of inappropriate conduct in the Universal Pictures Marketing Department" and that "the information provided was detailed, and we believe both credible and indicative of an unacceptable climate."

Another Universal marketing leader, Seth Byers, who was executive vice president of creative strategy and research, was fired at the same time Goldstine went on leave.

A Universal Pictures spokesman declined to comment on the firings.

"We commend the people who have had the courage to come forward," Shell and Langley said in their February memo. "We have no tolerance for harassment or other disrespectful behavior, and we will be taking any necessary steps to ensure that actions that violate our core values are dealt with swiftly and decisively."

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Universal leadership added that they would launch mandatory small-group "respect-in-the-workplace training" for all employees in the motion picture division.

Goldstine could not immediately be reached for comment. His firing was first reported by Deadline.

Goldstine, a former executive at Sony, joined Universal in 2011 following two decades at Sony. He was named the studio's president of worldwide marketing in 2014.

Goldstine is the latest high-ranking media executive to lose his job amid an industrywide reckoning with inappropriate behavior in the workplace in the wake of sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

Broadcasters Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose were ousted from their positions late last year, and Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter in November went on a six-month leave of absence, citing unspecified "missteps."

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