Creative Artists Agency took the unusual step of issuing a public apology to anyone “the agency let down” following a New York Times story about Harvey Weinstein’s “complicity machine,” which details how the powerful mogul “commanded enablers, silencers and spies” to keep his alleged sexual misconduct a secret.
The story describes how agents and managers across Hollywood sent actresses to meet Weinstein alone in hotels and advised them to keep mum when things went wrong. It singles out one of the most powerful agencies, CAA, where “at least eight talent agents” were told that Weinstein had harassed or menaced female clients — but the agents continued to arrange these private meetings.
“We want to make clear to clients and colleagues that even one of our clients being harassed over the company’s 42 years is one too many,” CAA said in a statement. “We are here to serve, fight for, and protect our clients. We apologize to any person the agency let down for not meeting the high expectations we place on ourselves, as individuals and as a company.”
That appears to be a reference to an account from Canadian actress Mia Kirshner, who said CAA set up a meeting with Weinstein in New York, ostensibly to discuss a film about the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Instead, he wanted to exchange sex for career opportunity, the newspaper reported.
Kirshner said she discussed the Weinstein encounter in 1994 with her primary agent, Lisa Grode, who sounded shocked, and, subsequently, with her talent manager, John Carrabino, and his boss, Sandy Gallin.
“I was told to forget about it; it was pointless to do anything about this,” Kirshner told the New York Times, adding, “I was very disappointed by them.”
Grode and Carrabino declined comment; Gallin is deceased.
Asked by the Times if he knew about Weinstein’s alleged harassment, CAA Partner Bryan Lourd declined comment, citing client confidentiality. Weinstein stormed into Lourd’s office to complain about an article that Ronan Farrow, an agency client, was writing for The New Yorker article. Lourd reportedly tried to arrange a meeting, which apparently didn’t happen.
CAA said it is committed to championing the work of female actors, writers, directors an producers, achieving pay equity and adding more women into positions of leadership and operational supervision at the agency. Indeed, the agency recently elevated two women — Motion Picture Department Co-Head Risa Gertner and Global Chief Human Resources Officer Sherrie Sage Schwartz — to its management committee.
The talent agency established an initiative called Evolve, led by a group of 17 women, to evaluate and improve CAA’s existing policies and practices to ensure even greater vigilance, awareness, and information-sharing in preventing harassment.
“We are determined to succeed for our clients and employees in this regard,” CAA said in a statement. “We will continue to use the influence and resources we have, inside and outside the company, working alongside equally motivated women and men, to help create permanent change.”
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