Two More Guilty Pleas In Prosecution Of Pay-For-Play Acting Workshops In L.A.

EXCLUSIVE: Two more casting directors have accepted guilty pleas in connection with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s prosecution of five pay-for-play casting workshops that allegedly charged actors for auditions in violation of the state’s Talent Scam Prevention Act.

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Scott David, who was fired last year as the casting director of Criminal Minds after the allegations first surfaced, has pleaded guilty to one count of charging actors for an audition or employment opportunity and was sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court to 36 months of probation and 125 hours of community service and ordered to pay $172 in restitution to the Consumer Protection Prosecution Trust Fund to help with the cost of investigating consumer complaints. He’s also not allowed to own, operate or work for a talent training service unless he follows terms as outlined in his probation.

Ricki Maslar, a casting director who taught at the Actor’s Key, also entered a plea of no contest and, under the terms of her deferred adjudication, agreed to serve 60 hours of community service at a food bank in North Hollywood and another 30 hours teaching workshops for a casting access program run by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. After one year, she can petition the court to have her plea dismissed and have a clean record.

“Ms. Maslar appreciates this opportunity to keep her record clean and move on with her life,” her attorney, Alan Eisner, told Deadline. “The accusation was that she led a workshop that charged a fee for an audition or employment opportunity. I believe if she had the time, resources and energy to fight this at a trial, she would have been exonerated. She did not charge a fee, the studio did; Ricki she was given a modest honorarium for her time teaching the workshop. In addition, nobody forced participants to come to the workshop – they attended voluntarily. Participants paid for the program because it was a beneficial learning experience to them. Advice was given and participants were critiqued. It was educational. There was no opportunity for employment by attending this workshop. It was not an audition. All participants were told this clearly at the outset of each workshop. Ms. Maslar has led a law abiding life for her 65 years and her participation in casting educational workshops was consistent with that history.

“While this law may have the desired intent of protecting aspiring actors from predatory practices in the management sector of the entertainment community,” Eisner added, “it was applied arbitrarily in this case, to prosecute persons and agencies that host productive, lawful, educational workshops that benefited many in the acting community.”

Twenty-five other defendants, including 15 other casting directors, still are awaiting trial. In June, Bradley Sachs, owner of the Actors Alley workshop, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was placed on 36 months summary probation and was sentenced to his choice of either 10 days in county jail or 150 hours of community service. He also has to pay for the cost of the investigation – which included an actor working undercover – and agreed not to be involved in any talent-training service during the term of his probation.

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