Andy Yeatman has joined children’s producer and distributor Moonbug as head of the Americas, after leaving Netflix just over a year ago.
Based at the company’s newly opened LA office, Yeatman will be focusing on development and growth in the US market and will oversee the company’s creative, production and commercial teams, as well as keeping an eye out for acquisition opportunities.
In his new role, he will work alongside Moonbug co-founder and CEO René Rechtman, co-founder and COO John Robson, and head of mergers and acquisitions Alfie Chubb. Rechtman co-founded the company with ex-WildBrain managing director Robson last year after serving as Disney’s head of international for non-linear media.
Following its acquisition of Brit digital IP Little Baby Bum—one of YouTube’s most popular brands—last September, the company raised US$145 million in a Series A equity financing round in December led by merchant bank The Raine Group with Felix Capital, Fertitta Capital and others.
Yeatman joined Netflix in 2011 and founded and led the streamer’s kids content department, which would grow from two original titles in 2014 to 40 in 2017, including popular series Alexa and Katie, Ask the Storybots and Trollhunters. During his tenure, he acquired content and programming from more than 50 countries, managed original productions in 10 countries and closed licensing or production deals with major children’s content providers including Disney, DreamWorks, eOne, Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, Nickelodeon and Warner Bros.
His career at Netflix took a turn when the company let him go in December 2017 amid controversy over a comment he made in connection to the investigation of sexual assault accusations against actor Danny Masterson, who was cast in Netflix comedy The Ranch. Yeatman was approached on the sidelines of a children’s soccer game in early December by a woman who asked if he worked at Netflix and why the company had not taken action against Masterson following the accusations. She later identified herself as one of Masterson’s alleged victims.
Netflix confirmed that Yeatman made a comment suggesting to the woman that the company didn’t believe the accusers, stating that, “Mr. Yeatman’s comments were careless, uninformed and do not represent the views of the company. Further, he would have no insights into decision-making on The Ranch. We are aware of the allegations against Danny Masterson and we are following the current investigation, and will respond if developments occur.” (Masterson was later dismissed from the show.)
After his firing, The Hollywood Reporter published a guest column by Yeatman on January 10 in which he reiterated how he regretted the comment, calling it “careless” and said, “I realize now that my words on that Los Feliz soccer field inadvertently reinforced the widely held and well-founded belief on the part of sexual assault victims that people in power presumptively [sic] do not believe them. I have always strived to be thoughtful and conscientious. But in that brief moment, I came up short and unintentionally spilled salt on some very real wounds. I apologized for this at the time and take full responsibility for it today.”
After his exit, Yeatman launched his own consulting firm for kids and family digital media. Prior to joining Netflix, worked in digital distribution for The Walt Disney Studios.