Innovative Artists Institutes Pay Cuts Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Innovative Artists

UPDATE 630 PM: I have learned that the company on Monday laid off Jason Pinyan, a Senior Agent in Strategic Management and Endorsements in the LA office, as well as his assistant. I hear their employment was terminated invoking the Force Majeure clause, citing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Because Pinyan was force majeured, I hear the agency is not paying the severance package in his employment contract. Additionally, his health insurance coverage is cut at the end of April amid a global health crises. Besides the two layoffs, which I hear happened two days prior to Innovative Artists implementing pay cuts for agents and administrators, I hear the agency also furloughed its mailroom staff, something other agencies also have done too under the current circumstances.

EXCLUSIVE 5:20 PM: With talent agencies’ income down to a trickle amid total Hollywood production shutdown, Innovative Artists has become the latest company to implement cost-cutting measures in a bid to stay afloat during the difficult times.

In a statement to Deadline, owner and president Scott Harris confirmed that the agency has “instituted salary reductions for our agents and administrators, on a sliding scale.” He revealed that he had already cut his pay to zero some time ago. The agency executive committee and the most highly compensated agents “are taking the largest reductions,” he said, declining to provide details. I hear the top agents and executives will be taking a 50% pay cut.

Assistants’ salaries will not be impacted, Harris said, adding that “it is our intent to retain 100% of our current employees,” meaning that there are no layoffs planned at this time.

Here is Harris’ statement in its entirety:

In response to the impact of the global health crisis, Innovative Artists is taking measures to weather this unprecedented storm. It is our intent to retain 100% of our current employees and to do so we have instituted salary reductions for our agents and administrators, on a sliding scale.

Some time ago I cut my pay to zero, and that will be the case for however long it takes to get over this hurdle. Our executive committee and the most highly compensated agents are taking the largest reductions. Our assistants will not be impacted by these current measures, and all employees will of course continue to receive their health benefits.

While these decisions are not without pain and challenge, we are proud to keep our hard working and dedicated staff together at such a precarious time. We are focused on continuing to conduct the business of our agency, while encouraging everyone to prioritize their health and well being. We look forward to a time we can unite in person and continue the work that we are passionate about doing.

Innovative Artists, run by Harris, along with the agency’s executive committee, joins a number of other agencies that have instituted wide-reaching pay cuts, including UTA, WME and APA.

Known for its strong talent department, Innovative Artists recently signed a franchise agreement with the WGA.

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