Ovitz refutes criticism

Letter to the editor

To the Editor:

I am writing with respect to Weekly Variety’s recent article about Michael Ovitz “Agents see red over Ovitz’s green scene” (Nov. 7-14 issue). The article, which relies on rumor, speculation and innuendo from unamed sources, is both false and misleading.

For example, the article quotes one agent, “who insisted on anonymity,” as saying “it sounds to me like Mike was running two separate businesses. One to line his own pockets, and another that was just the general agency business.”

In fact, the principals of CAA shared the consulting fees and the agency commissions they collected, both with each other and with their employees. Thus, while Mr. Ovitz was there, numerous agents and execs earned seven-figure compensation packages as a result of this sharing by the three principals.

Variety‘s further suggestion that Mr Ovitz engaged in “advising of corporate clients for personal fees” is false and defamatory. Variety‘s statement equating an undisclosed referral fee or kickback arrangement on a vacation home in Italy to the well-publicized corporate consulting activities of CAA is so ridiculous it doesn’t merit a detailed response.

There was nothing underhanded or improper in that arrangement, nor was this consulting arrangement a personal activity undertaken by Mr. Ovitz for his own personal gain, separate and apart from his partners and employees in the consulting division of CAA.

One expects a lot more in terms of objectivity and care from journalists, including Daily and Weekly Variety. I hope and expect that we will see increased attentiveness, responsibility and objectivity in the future.

James Ellis
Attorney for Michael Ovitz

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