WGA Claims Big-Name Writers Are Purging Their Agents; Plans Big Delivery Of Official Letters On Monday

By Dominic Patten, David Robb


Good Friday has put Hollywood on pause for tomorrow, but today the Writers Guild said it has a very big Easter delivery for the uberagencies coming on Monday.

It’s been nearly a week after talks completely broke down between the WGA and the Association of Talent Agents over the new anti-packaging Agency Code of Conduct and scribes started pink-slipping their agents as the Guild leadership instructed. And today the Negotiating Committee sent a memo to members with news about some big numbers and big names.

Claiming that “over 92% of the members who signed the Statement of Support have already fulfilled their pledge and signed letters terminating their unfranchised agencies,” the memo warns the ATA that a forest full of official letters will be arriving at the likes of UTA, CAA, ICM Partners and WME on April 22. The guild added that “several thousand other writers” also have canned their now-ex-reps at the Big 4 and more.

Now, that 92% number sounds big, but it is not 92% of the roughly 15,000 members the guild has. Separate from the overall membership, it is 92% of the around 800 writers such as Noah Hawley, Frankie Shaw, Damon Lindelof, The Walking Dead‘s Scott M. Gimple and Amy Sherman-Palladino who signed the letter of support for members to vote for the new Code of Conduct last month — to be clear.

That statement of support actually said the intent was to “confront practices that constitute a conflict of interest: agency packaging fees and agencies functioning as producers.” Noting that “we will only be represented as writers by agencies franchised by the Guild,” there’s no explicit mention of firing agents in that support letter. However, it was widely known in the last several weeks that the guild was telling membership that such a purging was part of the plan for agencies that didn’t sign on to its new Code.

Anyway, take a read of what the writers are reading today here and why the WGA thinks the ATA are full of it in claiming “chaos” is hitting the industry:

Dear Members,

First: thank you. As writers it has been a stressful week for many of us. The agencies have reacted to the terminations by alleging the result will be chaos. That’s their biggest weapon: to spread undue fear and try to intimidate as many people around town as possible. We hope you saw our response to the threats made to attorneys and managers, as well as the lawsuit the Guild filed yesterday.

Here’s where we’re at on official notification to the agencies: over 92% of the members who signed the Statement of Support have already fulfilled their pledge and signed letters terminating their unfranchised agencies. So have several thousand other writers.

For those who haven’t yet done so: follow this link to e-sign and join them.

While we’d planned to deliver the letters tomorrow, the agencies are closed either all or part of the day due to the holiday. So instead the Guild will deliver the termination letters to the agencies en masse on Monday.

Members who are represented by agencies not signed to the Code of Conduct must e-sign the letter. There are several reasons for this: first, it protects you against any legal claim an agent may make that they deserve a commission on new work you acquire during this period. Second, it is unimpeachable evidence against agency claims that our members voted one way and acted another. It is a clear and powerful show of solidarity by writers – to each other and to the agencies. Because in solidarity – and only in solidarity – can we bring this campaign to its swiftest, successful conclusion. Of course, in addition to the e-sign, members can send individual letters directly to their agent.

This link takes you directly to the sign-in page. We want everyone to have the chance to get theirs in by Sunday night to be part of this group delivery.

In closing, less than one week in, the Guild is strong and steady. It is inspiring to see and hear how members are supporting each other both publicly and privately. We’ll be in touch again very soon.

In Solidarity,

WGA-Agency Agreement Negotiating Committee

Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
David Shore, Co-Chair
Meredith Stiehm, Co-Chair
Lucy Alibar
John August
Angelina Burnett
Zoanne Clack
Kate Erickson
Jonathan Fernandez
Travon Free
Ashley Gable

Deric A. Hughes
Chip Johannessen
Michele Mulroney
Michael Schur
Tracey Scott Wilson
Betsy Thomas
Patric M. Verrone
Nicole Yorkin
David A. Goodman, President WGAW, ex-officio
Marjorie David, Vice President WGAW, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, Secretary-Treasurer WGAW, ex-officio
Beau Willimon, President WGAE, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, Vice President WGAE, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer WGAE, ex-officio

Part of that “strongly and steady” also is the wide-ranging lawsuit that the guild filed Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court.

Since then, the war of words between the WGA and the ATA has only become more intense as both sides claim the rhetorical-laced other doesn’t know that they are talking about in regards to the law, lawyers and managers and what it all means.

Have a great Easter.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/04/wga-agent-firings-packaging-dispute-wme-uta-caa-icm-partners-ata-1202598773/