EXCLUSIVE: It’s rare for an agent to battle so publicly with his Hollywood tenpercentery. Then again, John Ferriter was a longtime William Morris agent, and he’s now working for what is essentially Endeavor after its takeover of Morris. So he’s hired a Hollyood litigator and a publicist. And Ferriter, a Reality TV major player and his official team (as opposed to his “camp” of pals since this is the first comment from his side) want to set the record straight with me and ensure Deadline Hollywood’s information is totally accurate. The team tells me that John Ferriter did not and has no plans to resign. That he is continuing to “take care of his clients and manage his business with the same professionalism, excellence and enthusiasm he has always displayed”. That John’s “greatest desire” is to resolve this situation quickly and amicably. That Ferriter is not engaging other offers at this time and doesn’t intend to until this is resolved. That Ferriter John is “prepared to do what it takes to protect himself and his clients and ensure that all his rights are respected”.
I’ve learned that this afternoon Ferriter and his lawyer, and WME’s Mark Itkin and Rick Rosen and the agency’s lawyer, sat down together for an arbitration. This follows Ferriter’s very public trashing of WME to his friends and colleagues over the past few weeks. The agent keeps comparing this to what he went through when he was recently hospitalized for an infection and then moved into intensive care (where he claims to have flatlined at least twice): “I fought death, and I won. Ari Emanuel is not scarier than death. I’ll fight him, and I’ll win,” Ferriter has told his pals. His team is also claiming he’ll “tell all” about where WME’s bodies are buried — especially Mark Itkin’s, Rick Rosen’s, and Ari’s. “I’m going to go all out and go to war,” Ferriter is telling colleagues. As for WME, the agency doesn’t seem concerned at all.
It is true that the agency is holding him to his contract which still has at least 18 months to go. Ferriter wants to exit with his comissions and clients intact but claims WME offered to pay him in full only if he would not take any agents or clients with him for 3 years, and he refused. This all came to a head last week between Ari Emanuel and John Ferriter at a breakfast meeting at Walters Coffee Shop downstairs from WME. WME’s camp says Ferriter refused to work out a plan with the heads of the TV department, Mark Itkin and Rick Rosen, to see how John could stay on with whatever tweaks he wanted. The WME camp claims Ferriter’s lawyer instead called the agency and said John wanted out. Ferriter claims that, over the weekend, WME’s pitbull attorney Patty Glaser wrote him a letter telling him to stay home.
But WME will still enforce his new contract. That pact was signed before the merger talks between William Morris and Endeavor began in earnest and still has at least 18 months left on it. Ferriter was the only one among the 20 William Morris board members to vote against the merger. Nevertheless, WME did keep him despite his long illness. Last week he was telling pals that he “hates coming into the [WME] office every day, but they’re hanging onto me as long as they have to pay me”. Ferriter tried to raise venture capital and start a company, but the climate has been lousy because of the financial crisis. In July, his silver bullet client Ryan Seacrest threw him under the bus by going to CAA and then battled over commissions. Now, as far as WME is concerned, he can come to work or stay home.