ATK Has a New Website to Answer All Your Chris Kimball Lawsuit Questions
When news broke this week that America’s Test Kitchen, Inc. was suing Christopher Kimball over his new venture, Milk Street, many fans were not pleased. For them, the longtime public face of well-regarded ATK brands, including the eponymous public TV show and Cook’s Illustrated magazine, is synonymous with the Boston-based media company. But despite that notion—or rather, likely, because of it—America’s Test Kitchen has launched a website that provides details about the company’s complaint.
“America’s Test Kitchen was built on trust and cooperation. Recently we discovered that Christopher Kimball breached that trust,” reads the thesis statement of WhyWeAreSuingChristopherKimball.com. “In order to protect our company and our employees, ATK had to take the unfortunate, but necessary, step of filing a lawsuit against Christopher Kimball.”
The 39-page filing, linked in full on the new website, also names Kimball’s wife and former ATK executive producer, Melissa Baldino, former ATK and current Milk Street assistant Christine Gordon, and Kimball’s longtime publicist, Deborah Broide, in addition to the Milk Street limited liability corporation, CPK Kitchen.
The site clearly aims to preempt questions about the lawsuit, and more generally about ATK’s history with Kimball. Chief creative office Jack Bishop says ATK has already been fielding inquiries from fans, supporters, and staff.
“It is a complex situation and in order for them to fully understand it, we needed to provide them with the background,” he says. “The legal action taken is not a decision we came to lightly and we believe it is best if our fans have the opportunity to understand it. The microsite is a place where everyone can access the same information.”
It emphasizes that the company is not suing over new competition, per se, but instead, to protect its brand and employees, and to recoup costs it says have been incurred by Kimball’s alleged misdeeds.
“This case is not about too many cooks in the kitchen. This is illegitimate competition that started under our roof while Kimball was being paid by ATK and ATK was being assured by Kimball he would continue in his role,” reads the site.
Kimball had a highly publicized split from ATK last fall, after the board instated a new management hierarchy and hired its first-ever CEO, David Nussbaum, above Kimball. On the new website, ATK explicitly denies firing Kimball in September 2015, which is how the former host has described the events around his departure, but confirms it “had no choice but to terminate his employment” in November 2015, upon discovering the allegations outlined in the lawsuit.
In an interview with the New York Times, Kimball said the “absurd” lawsuit is an effort to generate publicity for ATK. Today, Kimball’s lawyer, Scott Lashway, declined to comment on the lawsuit, and he also declined to respond to the website. He has a few weeks to respond to the complaint with the Suffolk Superior Court, he says.
Before Lashway files Kimball’s response, America’s Test Kitchen and Chris Kimball fans have only one side of the story. But if it’s a story you’re curious about, fix yourself a snack and fire up WhyWeAreSuingChristopherKimball.com. It’s certainly entertaining.