In a sign of hostility in the war between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies, Gersh Agency has come under fire from TV and film writers for canceling a network meeting that it had arranged for a now-former client.
Writer Jorge Reyes disclosed the incident in a series of tweets on Monday. Reyes asserted that he arrived on Monday for a long-scheduled meeting at the Fox network only to find that it had been canceled. The network, according to Reyes’ tweets, later told him the meeting was canceled by his former reps at Gersh.
Reyes could not immediately be reached for comment. Gersh confirmed the substance of Reyes’ account in a statement issued Tuesday.
“Gersh set these meetings several months ago before the strike when Mr. Reyes was a Gersh client. When the client signed with another agency, the meetings were removed from the books as is normal protocol. We wish Mr. Reyes the best,” Gersh stated.
Reyes said he believed his former reps at Gersh took the step of canceling the meeting as retaliation for his decision to sign with Verve agency, the literary boutique that became the first prominent talent agency to agree to the WGA’s newly established Code of Conduct for agents. As of April 12, the WGA has instructed members to terminate their professional ties to any talent agents that will not adhere to the new Code of Conduct.
“They don’t have to like that I moved. But they were ALREADY fired, and in no position to cancel a meeting with an exec that wanted to meet me because of my writing. Now I’ll be fine. But this is vindictive, f***ed up, & I wouldn’t put it past them to try & sabotage me,” Reyes wrote.
So Gersh found out I was going over to verve &asked my mgr about it this morning. I had a meeting at Fox this afternoon. I get there, they told me the meeting was “cancelled by my mgmt company.” When I checked, I found out It was Gersh calling to cancel my meeting. 1)
— The Coolest (@jorgereyes) May 20, 2019
Reyes’ story provoked strong reactions and expressions of support from fellow WGA members on social media.
Reyes at present is a writer on USA Network drama “Queen of the South.” His past credits include serving as creator and exec producer of the UPN drama “Kevin Hill.”
The WGA is in a legal battle with Hollywood’s four largest talent agencies over the guild’s effort to establish new rules that would, among other changes, ban the decades-old industry practice of talent agents receiving packaging fees from production entities for helping to assemble TV series and independent films.
The WGA filed suit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners last month, asserting that packaging fees amount to a violation of talent agents’ fiduciary duty to clients. On Monday, the guild amended its complaint to add the claim that the agencies have engaged in “constructive fraud” to conceal the details of packaging fees from clients.