Time Bandit captains Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand and Northwestern captain Sig Hansen have announced they are quitting the crab fishing reality series following Discovery Channel's decision to sue the Hillstrands for failing to complete the production of a spinoff special the brothers had been filming.
"We have been through a lot over the past year and unfortunately given the current situation with Discovery we are unable to continue participating in Deadliest Catch," the men said in a joint statement released to The Hollywood Reporter.
"It has been a fantastic ride, and we wish the best to all of the amazing and supportive Catch fans we have met over the years."
Discovery had no immediate comment on the stars' statement, according to the Reporter.
Earlier this month, Discovery filed a $3 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Hillstrands claiming they have refused to film interviews required to complete the production of Hillstranded, an upcoming special the network had filmed in June chronicling some of the brothers' non-crab fishing work.
According to the lawsuit, the Hillstrands failed to reply to Discovery's August attempts to schedule the interviews. Instead, the network received an email from the Hillstrands' lawyer stating it shouldn't attempt any further contact with the brothers.
"The Hillstrand Defendants determined that they would reverse course, dishonor their promises, and refuse to render the services necessary to complete Hillstranded," the lawsuit stated, according to the Reporter.
Hillstrand lawyer Jeff Cohen had subsequently blasted the lawsuit.
"The recent actions of Discovery Communications are an astonishing and shameful instance of arrogance and greed run amok," Cohen told the Reporter. "Three million dollars is exponentially greater than any compensation ever paid to the Deadliest Catch captains, and yet this is the figure Discovery is trying to extort from these men."
"Isn't there enough unemployment in America without forcing hard-working sea captains to declare bankruptcy, sell their boats and fire their crews?"
Cohen also represents Hansen, who had made his support for the Hillstrands clear as soon as the lawsuit became public.
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"I want people to know the captains stand together, and me and my brothers support them 100 percent," he told the Reporter.
Deadliest Catch's seventh season is scheduled to begin production in October with the start of the Alaskan king crab fishing season.