×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WME-IMG Forming Political Action Committee for Donald Trump Era (EXCLUSIVE)

WME-IMG is forming a national political action committee and planning on increasing its contact with office holders from both political parties, the agency’s co-CEOs told employees in an internal memo.

Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said in the email on Tuesday that several initiatives are designed to help workers at the Beverly Hills-based company engage in the political process. The actions are in response to the election of Donald Trump, though the memo is careful not to take sides in any of the many controversies that have erupted during the president’s 19 days in office.

“No matter what side of the aisle you sit on or where you live in the world, the call for meaningful and sustained civic engagement is louder than ever,” begins the memo, delivered under the subject line “Influence.”

The email continues:

“In the coming weeks, you will hear more from us about:

• The formation of a federal political action committee (PAC) in the U.S.

• Convening internal and external forums with politicians and allied stakeholders

• Connecting our clients with elected officials

• Introducing company-wide matching policies to support donations of time and money

• Developing actionable public policy solutions

The email concludes: “This company’s greatest asset is the diversity of our backgrounds and beliefs. Please know that we will do everything in our power to support and protect this diversity now and in the months and years ahead.”

The email is from Emanuel and copied to his co-CEO, Whitesell, though the initials of both men appear at the end of the short message.

An insider said that lawyers are currently working out details of the political action committee, which might take on partners from outside of the agency. The financial commitment by WME will be “substantial” — with money to be contributed to causes and candidates that the agency’s employees agree to support. It was unclear how the agency will decide who and what to back, though the source said the calls will be directed by an array of employees, not just Emanuel and Whitesell.

Emanuel has connections on both sides of the political aisle. He once served as Trump’s agent and visited the President-elect after his victory over Hillary Clinton, but before the Republican took office on Jan. 20. Emanuel declined to disclose what he and his former client talked about at the November meeting, which took place at a Trump’s golf course in New Jersey.

Emanuel also contributed to Clinton’s campaign and he is the brother of Democrat Rahm Emanuel, the current mayor of Chicago and President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff. Trump donated $50,000 to Rahm Emanuel’s 2010 Chicago mayoral campaign.

The insider said that some of Trump’s actions have made “people here very concerned, including the leadership of the company. But it’s also an incredibly diverse company and there are probably people in our company who are in favor of what is going on in the White House. We want to be respectful of those people too.”

More Biz

  • Tan FranceUnforgettable Gala, Inside, Los Angeles,

    'Queer Eye' Star Tan France to Host Audiobook Audie Awards

    “Queer Eye” resident style expert Tan France is taking on a slightly different project next month as he hosts the Audie Awards, which honors the best releases and achievements in audiobooks over the past 12 months. The ceremony, which takes place on March 4 in New York, is an annual event organized by the Audio [...]

  • Obit Obituary Placeholder

    Shelly Saltman, Former Fox Sports President and Promoter, Dies at 87

    Sheldon “Shelly” Saltman, the sports promoter behind the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs tennis match and Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump, died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 87. The original president of Fox Sports, Saltman started his career as a sports announcer before moving to promotions at media companies like the Gillette Cavalcade [...]

  • Arista Records, Mogul Vision Launch Joint

    Arista Records, Mogul Vision Launch Joint Venture

    Arista Records and Smokepurpp/ Lil Mosey manager Josh Marshall today announced the launch of Mogul Vision Music, a new joint venture label focused on “breaking extraordinary talent and building artist careers through innovative A&R, branding and marketing strategy,” according to the announcement. Based in New York with Marshall (pictured above left, with Massey) as its CEO, the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Faces Prison, Career Ruin if He Lied About Attack

    Jussie Smollett is facing prison time and the implosion of his career if it turns out he lied about being the target of a hate crime, legal and public relations experts say. “The best thing that Jussie can do is pray and pray a lot,” said Ronn Torossian, founder of 5W Public Relations. “If he [...]

  • Gerrit Meier Variety Strictly Business Podcast

    Listen: Red Bull Practically Invented Branded Entertainment. What's Next?

    With memorable moves like sponsoring Felix Baumgartner’s jump from outer space in 2012 to achieve the world’s farthest ever-parachute drop, Red Bull has been a pioneering force in branded entertainment. While known best for its line of energy drinks, the beverage maker has eschewed traditional marketing for content that blurred the boundaries between advertising and [...]

  • Martin Bandier to Be Honored at

    Martin Bandier to Be Honored at Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony

    Martin Bandier, outgoing chairman and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, will be awarded the Visionary Leadership Award at the 50 th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, June 13 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. According to the announcement, the Visionary Leadership Award “acknowledges a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Board [...]

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Remains in the

    Hong Kong Disneyland Remains in the Red but Reduces Losses

    The Hong Kong Disneyland Resort theme park remained in the red for the fourth straight year, but there are signs of improvement. For the financial year to end-September 2018, HKDL reported $769 million (HK$6 billion) of revenue from 6.7 million visitors, an increase of 8%. Net losses fell from $32 million (HK$291 million) to $6.92 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content