UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer sent a strongly worded memo late Wednesday to the agency’s nearly 1,000 staffers denouncing Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment and assault of of women and encouraging employees to come forward if they ever feel “uncomfortable, threatened or exposed” by sexual predators.
“We’ve all read the news. As a father, a husband, a colleague and a human being, I am disgusted. Harvey earned his demise,” Zimmer wrote. “And it should serve as a cautionary tale to anyone in our industry who believes moguls own their thrones. But I can say that I’m also proud …of the courageous women we represent who have strongly come forward…and of the culture of inclusiveness, tolerance and empowerment that we strive every day to build at UTA.”
Zimmer’s memo is an example of how widely the explosive Weinstein scandal is reverberating around the industry. Legal experts say the heightened awareness of the issue spurred in the past 12 months by the Weinstein revelations as well as the tumult at Fox News over sexual harassment is putting new pressure on businesses to react to allegations of hostile working environments, conditions that in some cases have been part and parcel of Hollywood culture for decades. Talent agencies in particularly have historically attracted highly ambitious and driven personalities.
Zimmer’s message is a clear effort to articulate UTA’s policies on workplace behavior and corporate ethos.
“So let me be crystal clear about who we are – and what we stand for: UTA respects and protects the boundaries of our colleagues and clients. UTA does not tolerate behavior that crosses those lines. UTA will never be silent or complicit. From leaders to assistants, our behaviors must model the highest ethics and standards. Because our values matter,” Zimmer wrote. “If you feel uncomfortable, threatened or exposed, if a client feels that way, if a colleague does – you are safe to come forward. Go to your leaders and mentors. Go to our Human Resources team. There are always things we can do better – to learn and grow in our choices and behavior. But fear and silence is never the answer…you will be heard.”