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Genius Brands and ChizComm Founders Part Ways Under Contradictory Claims

Harold and Jennifer Chizick are out less than a year after their company was acquired by the growing kids’ media company; business will continue under the leadership of Donna MacNeil and Kathleen Campisano.

Genius Brands International, Inc. and ChizComm / ChizComm Beacon Media founders Harold and Jennifer Chizick have parted ways. In a short company statement released today, Genius Brands announced that “Harold Chizick and Jennifer Chizick, employees of the company’s ChizComm subsidiary, have been terminated for cause,” and that business would continue as usual under current management, with Donna MacNeil as President of ChizComm and Kathleen Campisano as Global Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager of ChizComm Beacon Media subsidiaries. Genius Brands also stated it believes the decision “to be in the best interest of its shareholders and customers.”

The ChizComm founders, in a statement about their Genius Brands exit also released today, said, “Last week, Genius Brands imposed organizational changes that reduced our role in the company and was a breach of our agreement with Genius Brands. Efforts to resolve this matter in an amicable fashion have been unsuccessful. We believe that we have been terminated on a without cause basis and now have no choice but to depart the Company and explore options for how to recoup the considerable sums remaining due to us.”

“We are extremely disappointed to be leaving Genius Brands and ChizComm after less than a year of being with Genius Brands,” their statement continued. “However, our vision on how to best grow the company does not align well with Genius Brands.”

Founded in 2013, ChizComm Ltd., a marketing communications and media buying agency in the lifestyle, family, entertainment, toy, and gaming spaces, was acquired by Genius Brands in February 2021. At the time of the deal, it was stated that the company would continue as an independent subsidiary under the leadership of the original founders.

Genius Brands, a leading kids’ media company led by longtime industry veteran Andy Heyward, recently completed its acquisition of Canada’s WOW! Unlimited Media, Inc., which included Frederator Studios and Mainframe Studios, and purchase of a major stake in Germany’s Your Family Entertainment AG. The company’s Kartoon Channel is a leading kids’ digital content platform.

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.