Former Whatsonstage chief Terri Paddock has spoken out for the first time about her shock departure from the theatre website at the end of last year, describing it as “sudden and unexpected”. She said she had asked solicitors to pursue legal action on her behalf.
The Stage revealed last month that she had been dismissed by Whatsonstage’s new owner in December.
In a statement, Paddock said: “I can confirm that I have not been at Whatsonstage since December 12, the week after the annual launch party for the Whatsonstage Awards. The departure was sudden and unexpected. The matter is in the hands of my solicitors, who have been instructed to pursue any and all legal remedies on my behalf.”
She added that she had been “overwhelmed” by the response she had received after news of her departure was revealed a fortnight ago.
Paddock worked for the website for more than 16 years, having been one of its founding employees when it was launched by Emap Online in 1997. Together with her then business partner David Dobson, Paddock acquired the site from Emap in 2000. Really Useful Group became a major shareholder in the company in 2008, at which point Paddock’s holding in the company was reduced. Whatsonstage was then 100% acquired by Time Out Group in December 2011, before being sold to its current owner, Theatermania in December 2012.
Gretchen Shugart, chief executive of Theatermania, said: “Of course Terri is free to pursue any avenue which she feels is appropriate. At this time we have no further comment other than to confirm that Whatsonstage has acted reasonably and will deny any legal claims made.”