Bankrupt 'Life of Pi' VFX studio agrees to $1 million back-pay settlement after Oscars protest
More than 200 employees of an Oscar-winning visual effects studio could finally get their back pay after two of their colleagues reached a $1 million settlement over layoffs earlier this year, Variety reports. Rhythm & Hues, which won Academy Awards for its visual effects on Babe, The Golden Compass, and Life of Pi, filed for bankruptcy on February 11th, leaving 238 people without jobs. Thomas Capizzi and Anthony Barcelo sued their former employers under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act, which requires that companies provide two months' notice in advance of mass layoffs.
Attorneys for the men reached an agreement with Rhythm & Hues' debtors, Variety reported. Each would get $10,000, with the remainder divided between the other employees and attorneys' fees. A bankruptcy judge still has to approve the settlement.
Nearly 500 visual effects artists gathered outside the Oscars earlier this year to protest the Rhythm & Hues layoffs and what they regarded as unfair treatment amid a string of recent studio closures. During the ceremony, event organizers cut off the microphone of one of the winning artists during his acceptance speech for the Life of Pi visual effects award.