The WGA made the announcement Monday night. RBEL is joining more than 70 agencies allowed to represent WGA members thanks to agreeing to a ban of agency packaging fees and affiliate production. WGA members were told on April 13 by WGA West president David Goodman to fire their agents if the agents had not agreed to bans on packaging fees and affiliate production.
The Association of Talent Agents responded to the Rothman Brecher news by urging the WGA to allow its members to work with the agents of their choice.
“Writers who agree with the WGA leadership are of course free to join the agencies that have signed with WGA, and writers who care most about other issues should be free to join agencies that offer services that meet their needs,” the ATA said. “There is no reason for WGA to continue to restrict the freedom of writers. Writers should be able to decide which issues are most important to them and then freely decide which agent to hire.”
The WGA said in a message to members that there are some modifications to its WGA Come of Conduct under the Rothman Brecher agreement, such as packaging fees being banned after a sunset period ending Jan 22, 2021, and allowing agencies to own up to 5% of production companies — a percentage that the WGA described as “minimal.”
“In order to induce more agencies to sign, the sunset can, under certain circumstances, be extended,” the guild said. “The agency also agreed to information-sharing with the Guild, including contracts and invoices, which will aid the Guild in enforcing late pay, free work, and other MBA violations.”
“The agreement includes other modifications to the most-recent franchise agreement, including allowing the agency to have up to a 5% ownership interest in an entity engaged in production or distribution,” the WGA added. “This limitation protects writers from the egregious conflicts of agency-owned production companies outlined in our recent video, while allowing a minimal ownership share.”
A quartet of four other mid-sized agencies — Abrams, Verve, Kaplan Stahler and Buchwald — have signed deals with the WGA in the months following the April 13 firings. CAA, UTA and WME sued the WGA and recently consolidated their antitrust suits against the guild into a single action, accusing the union of engaging in an illegal group boycott. The federal judge handling the case recently set a Jan. 17 hearing.
RBEL is a member of the Association of Talent Agents. The ATA held negotiations over several months starting in February and those talks collapsed twice — first on April 12 and again on June 7. Goodman announced on June 20 that the guild would only negotiate with WME, CAA, UTA, ICM Partners, Paradigm, Gersh, APA, Rothman Brecher and Kaplan Stahler.
The Abrams Agency agreement with the WGA was announced on Nov. 13.
“Our goal remains to move the negotiation process forward with the remaining unsigned agencies,” the WGA said Monday. “We will keep you updated as progress is made.”
Recent series created or co-created by RBEL clients include CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory,” Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show,” A&E’s “Bates Motel,” and Netflix’s “Travelers.” The agency, which reps showrunner-level talent, was founded in 1991 by Robb Rothman as The Rothman Agency. The current name partners are Rothman, Dan Brecher, Jim Ehrich and Vanessa Livingston.