The National Conference of Personal Managers is going on the public relations offensive in its ongoing fight to overturn California’s Talent Agency Act, which prevents managers from procuring employment for their clients. The group has launched a website and is naming names, shaming dozens of stars who have sued their managers during the past 30 years for, of all things, helping them get jobs. The list includes Cher, Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Richard Pryor, Jennifer Lopez, Rosanne Barr, Arsenio Hall, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Sean Hayes and many others.
NCOPM tried to get the law changed so that personal managers could legally help their clients find jobs, but its effort was shot down last year in federal court. NCOPM appealed in October and is still awaiting a ruling. So now it’s going on the shaming offensive while trying to educate the public about the raw deal it believes personal managers are getting under the law. Its new website also is trying to raise money to continue its legal battle, which has seen all three major talent guilds — covering actors, writers and directors — opposing its efforts in “friend of the court” filings.
Many personal managers do, in fact, procure employment for their clients. They don’t sign the deals – that’s left to the agents and lawyers – but they can help find them jobs. When a dispute arises, the client can get out of paying the manager’s commission by accusing the manager of having procured employment for them in violation of the Talent Agency Act. The law requires that anyone who procures employment must be licensed by the state Labor Commissioner, which managers are not.
NCOPM is challenging the constitutionality of the law. “Personal managers nationwide have forfeited an estimated $500,000,000 due to either the California Labor Commissioner voiding management contracts and ordering disgorgement of compensation or managers being forced to settle artist disputes rather than face the risks and legal costs of a TAA hearing and subsequent litigation,” NCOPM says on its new website, StopTAA.org. “TAA controversies have resulted in financial hardship, bankruptcy and personal adversity for managers and other talent representatives nationwide. Plus, the TAA has had a chilling effect on the willingness of managers to sign younger talent who do not have agency representation.”