When EchoLight Studios launched a couple of years ago, it registered as a minor blip in Christian media while being roundly ignored by the mainstream press.
Things were different a year later when, relatively fresh off his failed 2012 presidential run, former Senator Rick Santorum announced that he was becoming the company's CEO. The news spread fast and wide, suggesting that, simply in terms of raising the profile of a niche, Dallas-based Christian film company, Santorum had been a wise hire.
The intervening months -- there have been three of them -- seem to cast doubt on that assessment. A lawsuit filed Monday in Tarrant County and first reported by Courthouse News describes escalating tensions between Santorum and other top executives that finally boiled over in recent days.
The suit was filed by EchoLight against Christopher Morrow, its chief global strategist, and Bobby Downes, its president, both of whom were recently fired by Santorum.
Problems began, according to EchoLight, after Morrow refused to give Santorum financial information regarding Hoovey, a film the studio was financing to the tune of $1 million. This quickly escalated into a full-scale chest-thumping match between the two, with Morrow "treat[ing] CEO Santorum insubordinately" by demanding to know just what made the former senator think he could boss him around.
Downes meanwhile was fired for talking smack about "one of EchoLight's principals," who, for narrative's sake, we'll assume has a name that starts with an "S" and rhymes with "Fantorum."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Following their dismissal, Downes and Morrow teamed up to wage a "campaign of sabotage," passing along information that caused a couple of business partners to cut ties with Echolight, among other alleged transgressions. These culminated in a weekend hijacking of the company's Facebook account.
Whoever hijacked the account then inserted a story about defendant Downes that inaccurately described him as EchoLight's 'founder.' Upon information and belief, either defendant Downes or defendant Morrow, or both, were behind this hijacking of EchoLight's Facebook account.
We'll save the court some trouble on this front. Morrow is currently listed as the page's sole administrator. And the claim that Downes isn't a founder is strange, given that he was identified as such in the press release announcing Santorum's hire.
We've reached out to Morrow and Downes for comment. We'll update when we hear back.