2ND UPDATE: WMA is so sensitive to my publicity surrounding this wave of leavings and layoffs (see my previous, William Morris Starts Laying Off Agents…) that the agency gave me info that was flat-out wrong. A Morris executive last night claimed that, since January 2007 and despite the writers strike, only 5 tenpercenters have departed Morris — while, in the same period, double-digit numbers of agents have left CAA and ICM, and single-digit numbers of agents have exited UTA. But that’s false.
I’ve since discovered that at least 14 agents have exited WMA since January 2007 — Holly Baril, Louise Ward, Ken Freimann, Theresa Peters, Jack Tantleff, Caroline Michel, Ed Bicknell, Jeff Kolodny, Marc Provissierro, Marcus Wiley, Kenny Goodman, Phil Alberstat, Scott Lonker, Brian Stern, and more may be out the door (like Brian DePersia even though he just argued his way back in). “It wasn’t intentional,” the source said. And those numbers don’t include the wholesale firings and hirings that have rocked WMA for years after Jim Wiatt and Dave Wirtschafter took over in 1999.
It’s time for everyone to level: I have been stunned by the overwhelmingly negative comments flooding in to DHD about the William Morris Agency since this round of layoffs began. I haven’t been able to post 50% of them because they contain unsavory allegations of personal and professional conduct. (But I plan to examine each and every one.) This hate-spewing is far worse than anything I’ve received about an agency previously and has come from many different people inside and outside WMA. I really think that Morris needs to take a long hard look at itself. These layoffs and leavings have further widened what seems to be a huge schism between who’s inside the favored clique and who’s not. And the divide appears to be based more on cronyism than merit. Look, all the agencies have to deal with allegations of sexual harassment, professional liasons, bullying behavior, etc. But perhaps the time has come for WMA to hire a business therapist like many tenpercenteries have done to right what’s wrong.
UPDATE: Every Hollywood agency is after Theresa Peters now though she may already be headed to United Talent. Bonehead move by Morris. And now Brian DePersia may wind up leaving WMA anyway of his own volition. What the heck is going on there?
The drip, drip, drip at WMA continues. I’ve confirmed that the William Morris Agency and Theresa Peters have parted ways because she and the agency couldn’t agree on a new contract. The talent agent has chosen to “move on” with her excellent client list, including James McAvoy, Mandy Moore, Kirsten Dunst and others. So that makes 3 female agents exiting, but only one male. There was a second male agent axed, Brian DePersia. But get this: he was rehired after he did a presentation to the bosses and made the case why he should stay. As one insider told me, “He agented his way back in.”
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