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WGA: 92% of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92% of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives.

Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of Good Friday. Many writers are believed to have personally communicated their intentions to step away from agents until they resolve their beef with the WGA, which declared war with the Association of Talent Agencies last week over packaging fees.

The memo was one in an endless volley between the guild and the Association of Talent Agencies this week. The former sued the latter on Monday, alleging violation of state and federal law in the agency practice of recouping packaging fees on films and series written by their own clients.

The ATA has echoed numerous times that the WGA is bent on sending show business into chaos by interrupting dealmaking, a move the WGA called fear-mongering in the Thursday note.

“That’s their biggest weapon: to spread undue fear and try to intimidate as many people around town as possible,” the memo read.

Only hours before the WGA memo, the ATA sent a missive out to its own membership — which includes monolithic talent shops like CAA, WME, UTA and ICM — decrying the WGA’s plan to utilize personal managers and lawyers to procure new work while they battle it out with agents. The call to terminate agents came from the WGA on April 12, when the majors refused to sign a code of conduct that included the packaging fee issue.

Read the full memo from the guild.

Dear Members,

First: thank you. As writers it has been a stressful week for many of us. The agencies have reacted to the terminations by alleging the result will be chaos. That’s their biggest weapon: to spread undue fear and try to intimidate as many people around town as possible. We hope you saw our response to the threats made to attorneys and managers, as well as the lawsuit the Guild filed yesterday.

Here’s where we’re at on official notification to the agencies: over 92% of the members who signed the Statement of Support have already fulfilled their pledge and signed letters terminating their unfranchised agencies. So have several thousand other writers.

For those who haven’t yet done so: follow this link to e-sign and join them.

While we’d planned to deliver the letters tomorrow, the agencies are closed either all or part of the day due to the holiday. So instead the Guild will deliver the termination letters to the agencies en masse on Monday.

Members who are represented by agencies not signed to the Code of Conduct must e-sign the letter. There are several reasons for this: first, it protects you against any legal claim an agent may make that they deserve a commission on new work you acquire during this period. Second, it is unimpeachable evidence against agency claims that our members voted one way and acted another. It is a clear and powerful show of solidarity by writers – to each other and to the agencies. Because in solidarity – and only in solidarity – can we bring this campaign to its swiftest, successful conclusion. Of course, in addition to the e-sign, members can send individual letters directly to their agent.

This link takes you directly to the sign-in page. We want everyone to have the chance to get theirs in by Sunday night to be part of this group delivery.

In closing, less than one week in, the Guild is strong and steady. It is inspiring to see and hear how members are supporting each other both publicly and privately. We’ll be in touch again very soon.

In Solidarity,

WGA-Agency Agreement Negotiating Committee

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