Headshots are creating headaches at Warner Bros. Television — in a casting scandal that will likely become known as “8-by-10-gate.”
Though a spokeswoman for the company says the studio won’t comment on personnel matters, insiders there say that “West Wing” casting associate Elayne Teitelbaum ankled the studio this week after her clandestine business of selling actors headshots on online retailer eBay was disclosed to her bosses.
Teitelbaum, who worked for Warner Bros. casting agent Tony Sepulveda, late of “The West Wing” casting, had conducted more than 1,100 auctions of actor headshots on eBay under the name “MaxiRyder.” Some thesps were well known, though most were not. The price of fame: Roughly $5 to as much as $100 dollars for batches of 100 headshots, though MaxiRyder has ended all her auctions. Even thesp Sarah Polley was for sale, to the annoyance of the William Morris Agency, which reps the star of pics like “Go” and this year’s “My Life Without Me.”
A Warner Bros. studio insider called the violation “a major break from company policy” and added that an investigation is under way to find out what happened and how to prevent it in the future.
Warner’s learned of the embarrassing sales after casting agent Billy DaMota called to complain last week, triggering the investigation. He says he first learned of the headshot sales several weeks ago, after receiving an email from concerned parents who found their children’s faces for sale on eBay — on headshots that in some cases had agency contact information, school attended and answering services. DaMota said he was “outraged” to see that “the safety and security of these actors was jeopardized” because, as he puts it, “the sort of person who’s interested in bidding on photos of a young boy with no credits is the same person who’s buying pictures of kids taking showers.”
Efforts to reach Teitelbaum for comment were unsuccessful.