A fourth young man who has accused former APA agent Tyler Grasham of sexual misconduct has been contacted by the investigator the talent agency hired to look into the allegations. Michael Podraza, currently a business and legal affairs manager at Lionsgate, issued a public statement this week accusing Grasham of offering to help him break into the industry in exchange for sex – an accusation Grasham denied in a 2013 email exchange.
Podraza was contacted Wednesday by Matthias Wagener, the attorney APA hired to look into the matter. “I am an independent neutral investigator,” Wagener told Podraza in an email, obtained by Deadline. “I have been engaged by APA to conduct a fair, thorough and impartial investigation regarding a matter in which you may have relevant information. I’d like to ask you a few questions about your online posts regarding Tyler Grasham. Are you willing to speak with me?”
Contacted by Deadline, Wagener would neither confirm nor deny he is investigating the matter for APA.
Grasham was fired from the Hollywood agency last week after two other young men accused the agent of sexually assaulting them, while another has accused him of sexual harassment. Several of the young clients Grasham once represented have since left the agency.
Podraza said he first met Grasham in 2013 and was “desperate” to break into show business. “At the time, I was pursuing a career as an actor,” he said in a statement provided to Deadline. “It was approximately July 2013 and I was 27 years old when my partner, who I’ve now been with for 12 years, and I met Tyler Grasham at a bar in West Hollywood. He invited us back to his place in West Hollywood along with another young man.
“I witnessed Tyler asking him to rub his back and he complied. At the time, I was desperate to get my foot in the door with the entertainment industry. Tyler touched my shoulder and leg numerous times. I was very uncomfortable, but I ignored it. I remember him asking me if I knew any attractive young men and he asked me to show him their profiles on social media.”
Podraza said he and his partner went to his house a second time after receiving an invite from Grasham.
“I vividly remember a text message conversation where Tyler made several inappropriate sexual comments. Before shutting down the conversation, I very briefly played along for a few minutes (strictly via text message), because I wanted to know exactly what he was offering. He explicitly said he would look at my resume and help me if I had sex with him. I declined. I showed my partner the text messages at the time. I was surprised when I found the email exchange I posted on social media, because I didn’t think I had any record of what occurred. Finding that email exchange helped me find the courage to speak up.”
In that August 21, 2013, email exchange, which he posted on Facebook this week, Podraza wrote: “I am still upset that you suggested I have sex with you in exchange for your help. I have strong values and that rubbed me the wrong way. I do appreciate the advice though.” A few minutes later, Grasham wrote him back. “No No…I didn’t ask you to have sex with me. Don’t take it that way. I just send annoying text messages when I get inundated from actors.”
Podraza’s partner told Deadline he remembers the texts. “I recall in 2013 Michael showing me his text messages with Tyler – that Tyler was looking for sexual favors in return for offering Michael help in getting auditions and a leg up in the industry,” he said. Reading those texts, he added, made him “angry and creeped out.”
Two other young men claim Grasham sexually assaulted them after getting them drunk. Former child actor Blaise Godbe Lipman, 28, says Grasham assaulted him 10 years ago when he was seeking representation. Lucas Ozarowski, a 27-year-old film and TV editor, says he too was assaulted by Grasham. He filed a complaint last week with LA City Attorney Mike Feuer, and says he has since filed an incident report with the LAPD (that could not be independently verified). He said he’s also been contacted by APA’s investigator.
A fourth young man, Brady Lindsey, said he was 15 and living in Utah when he friended Grasham on Facebook. In 2016, after he graduated, he moved to Los Angeles to become an actor a few days after he turned 18. He said got in touch with Grasham by phone, he said, and “we talked about my career and our relationship.” He claims Grasham touched him inappropriately on two occasions.
“I told him I’m not looking for anything romantic – just a professional relationship,” Lindsay said after the first encounter. “I told him no but he asked me to cuddle and kiss. I didn’t want it to ruin my career, so I did. I didn’t want any conflict.”
Podraza said his “jaw dropped to the floor” when he saw Ozarowski’s post on Facebook about Grasham asking him for back rubs and cuddling. “I remember him asking the guys at his house for back rubs,” Podraza said.
Within a few months of meeting Grasham, Podraza started working at MTV in series production. “As soon as I made it clear to [Grasham] that I wasn’t interested in making any physical contact with him, he quickly lost interest and no longer gave me the time of day,” he said. “I sent him a few emails asking for his help between 2013 and 2015, but he wasn’t willing to help me, except for giving me some advice, which wasn’t useful at all.”
Podraza said his final face-to-face meeting with Grasham was in August 2013 at a West Hollywood restaurant. “This meeting happened shortly after I made it clear to him that I was never going to have any sexual relations with him. I brought my resume to the meeting, which he barely looked at. The meeting was very brief and uneventful. He was on his best behavior. I believe that he only agreed to meet with me to look at my resume because I had already confronted him on his APA email account for trying to get me to have sex with him in exchange for his help. I think he might have been playing nice to keep me from speaking out.
“I wish I would have spoken up sooner,” Podraza said. “I feel guilty for keeping quiet until now. The fear of being blacklisted is a legitimate one. This industry needs to make significant changes in order to protect young people. We need to encourage people to speak up when they witness misconduct.”
“I hope that in sharing my story, it will lead to others sharing their stories,” he told Deadline, “and that ultimately, it will lead to a positive change in the entertainment industry.”
Attempts to contact Grasham were not successful.