Empire co-creator Lee Daniels is calling packaging agents “corrupt and irresponsible financial fiduciaries” in a message today to his fellow WGA members. He is the latest executive producer to join the growing list of nearly 800 writers urging fellow WGA members to vote yes to approve a new Agency Code of Conduct, which would ban packaging fees and force agencies to sever their ties with affiliated production companies.
“It’s imperative we use our voice to vote YES and stand in solidarity to approve the Code of Conduct,” he wrote to the membership. “The guild has written numerous reports on how packaging actually affects clients – by holding down our pay, making it harder to advance in title, and profiting from our work behind our backs. In short, they’ve been corrupt and irresponsible financial fiduciaries.
J.J. Abrams Joins A-Listers Urging Yes Vote On WGA's New Agency Code Of Conduct
“Now is the time to stop this once and for all,” he wrote. “We must approve the Code of Conduct. Vote YES.”
The Code is expected to be overwhelmingly approved in electronic voting that concludes on Sunday.
Daniels is the latest to add his name to those urging a yes vote. He wasn’t among the original signers of a WGA Statement of Support, but like J.J. Abrams, who came on board this week, he supports the WGA’s position.
A-list signers include Aaron Sorkin, Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes, Seth MacFarlane, Tina Fey, Alfonso Cuaron, James L. Brooks, Peter Farrelly, Oliver Stone, John Wells, David Chase, David Simon, Darren Star, David Simon, Paul Haggis, John Singleton and WGA West president David A. Goodman and WGA East president Beau Willimon.
A-listers who haven’t signed include Dick Wolf, Chuck Lorre, Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Bill Lawrence, Alex Kurtzman, Dan Fogelman, Tom Fontana, Adam Reed, Alan Ball, Marc Cherry, Michael Seitzman and the Duffer Brothers.
Those who signed agree to fire their agents if the guild asks them to if the Code is approved and a deal isn’t reached with the Association of Talent Agencies by April 6. Their statement says, “We agree a new agency agreement should confront practices that constitute a conflict of interest: agency packaging fees and agencies functioning as producers.”
Notably, it doesn’t say that those practices should be eliminated altogether.
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