Gersh ankles IAM.com casting venture

Web site officially launched 1 month ago

Former William Morris agent Brian Gersh has bowed out of IAM.com, the online casting venture he co-founded in December.

The Web site’s chair and CEO Thomas Epley insists that Gersh’s departure was amicable.

“Our tremendous launch and strong profile in the entertainment industry are in part attributed to his efforts,” said Epley, past topper of Technicolor, in a statement. “We have been fortunate to have his guidance in this critical phase of the company.”

Gersh was unavailable for comment.

IAM.com has boosted its presence within the crowded ‘Net casting arena since running a commercial during last month’s Oscarcast. Site also won some attention after throwing a lavish Hollywood launch party.

Hard to dismiss, however, is the $50 million lawsuit leveled against Gersh by e-tailer Infanet just one week after he announced IAM.com’s formation.

In its suit, filed Dec. 9, 1999, with the Los Angeles Superior Court, Infanet claims that Gersh (along with IAM.com board members Roger Wilson and Jeffrey Drazan) took IAM.com’s online casting concept from rival e-tailer Infanet.

In a nutshell, Infanet argues that Gersh and others wrongly benefited from strategies revealed during one of its board meetings during which Gersh was, at the time, acting as an Infanet consultant.

In December, IAM.com was quick to defend Gersh, adamantly insisting the allegations were without merit.

Officially launched last month, IAM.com bundles up demo reels from aspiring actors, models, musicians and dancers into a searchable Internet database, accessible by biz professionals.

Site has locked up funding from Lehman Brothers Venture Partners and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sierra Ventures.

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