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

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.

Popular on Variety

“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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