Auction of Casting Tapes Called Off Due to SAG-AFTRA Protests

VHS tapes

VHS cassettes include DiCaprio, Bullock, Kidman, Pitt

Julien’s Auctions has called off the planned auction of more than 50 videotapes of auditions by actors Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock.

The auction house ditched the auction of the VHS tapes after SAG-AFTRA and the Casting Society of America objected, asserting the auditions should remain private.

“We’re cancelling the auction out of respect for the concerns expressed,” said company chief Darren Julien. “They did not represent a big part of this auction and we want to maintain a good relationship with those actors.”

SAG-AFTRA confirmed that the auction was scotched after the performers union approached Juliens.

“Auditions are not public performances, and under SAG-AFTRA collective bargaining agreements performers are entitled to expect them to remain private,” said SAG-AFTRA General Counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “SAG-AFTRA, on behalf of our members, has requested that Julien’s Auctions discontinue the sale of these private tapes, and they have  agreed to do so immediately.”

The auction has been set to take place on Friday and Saturday, with some of the tapes carrying suggested values up to $4,000. Julien said on NBC’s “Today” last week that the tapes were being sold by three casting directors who wanted to remain anonymous.

“SAG-AFTRA considers the right of performers to control the use of their image to be of utmost importance and we vigorously protect those rights,” the union said Tuesday. “Our collective bargaining agreements include protections for performers against exploitation of audition and interview tapes, which must be erased upon performers’ request. Failure to comply with such a request will result in formal legal action pursuant to the agreements.”

SAG-AFTRA also said, “Unauthorized use of audition and interview footage may also result in claims against producers and casting directors under right of publicity and/or privacy laws.”

The tapes included DiCaprio’s 1989 audition for “The Outsiders,” along with auditions by Michael Keaton, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.

The videotapes were contained in 12 lots out of more than 800 in the auction, which will go on as scheduled.

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  1. a veteran actor says:

    They should be ashamed of themselves. An audition is far different from the “public” aspect of a finished performance rendered on film. There is supposed to be a certain sanctity to the audition room, as actors need to feel they are in a safe environment where they can feel free to create, experiment, go wrong and do what they are called to do. To then have someone violate that trust like this is really reprehensible.

  2. Billy DaMota CSA says:

    Whoever these “anonymous” casting directors are (um, not hard to guess), they should be ashamed of their greedy actions and should apologize to the acting community for violating an already fragile trust – with the very same people who provide them their livelihood! But they must also apologize to the casting community, for once again placing that industry in an unfavorable light with their peers.

    And casting directors wonder why they are not recognized for an Academy Award…

    • S.A. Griffin says:

      Thanks for posting your comment Billy, means a lot to a working class actor.

      I was stunned when I saw this on the Today Show and wondered how it was possible that this could be happening. My mind immediately raced to the next possible string of reality shows, “100 Dumbest Auditions” “Actor’s Top 20 Most Embarrassing Nude Auditions” or “World’s Worst Actors”, the possibilities are endless. If this had happened, then the sky truly becomes the limit as it would have set a precedent allowing willing casting directors to cash in big time on decades worth of material violating not only trust and business ethics, but the ability for actors to have some semblance of control over their image/business in a twitter universe where all walls have not only ears, but eyes. Very pleased to see that this is no longer the case. Auditions/interviews should always remain private.

      S.A. Griffin

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