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SAG-AFTRA Investigating Ad Companies That May Be Scamming Members

UPDATED: SAG-AFTRA is investigating two companies — Waving Cat and Talent Solutions — that may have been scamming members by falsely representing themselves as real employers in the advertising industry.

The union, which represents about 160,000 performers, posted a message Tuesday on its official web site: “In an effort to protect our members from abuse and harm in the advertising industry, SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into several companies we believe have falsely represented themselves as real employers.”

SAG-AFTRA later sent a message to members saying that the missive was based on “clear information” from members and their reps. It did not cite specific instances.

It also said, “the union is increasingly concerned that performers’ earnings, safety, and rights are at serious risk when hired by companies that are not, in fact, real employers. This includes: payment delayed or never received, uncontrolled product conflicts, theft or unauthorized use of performances, and other abuses tied to compensation.”

SAG-AFTRA members generate more than $1 billion in annual earnings under the union’s contract with the ad industry. But large portions of the industry produce commercials that are non-union. SAG-AFTRA members who perform non-union work can be subject to union discipline.

Here’s the entire letter from SAG-AFTRA:

Dear Member,

Earlier today, we posted the following message on our website:

In an effort to protect our members from abuse and harm in the advertising industry, SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into several companies we believe have falsely represented themselves as real employers.

Based on clear information from members, their professional representatives and other stakeholders in the industry, the union is increasingly concerned that performers’ earnings, safety and rights are at serious risk when hired by companies that are not, in fact, real employers. This includes: payment delayed or never received, uncontrolled product conflicts, theft or unauthorized use of performances, and other abuses tied to compensation.

In addition, in an era when the union is expanding its protection against harassment and discrimination, it is particularly critical that we are able to hold these companies legally and financially responsible for their conduct.

As the advertising industry rapidly changes, the only way to ensure that SAG-AFTRA has the power to protect performers is if the real company that employs them signs their contracts.

We will continue to keep you informed about this ongoing investigation.

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