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Writers Guild Says Over 7,000 Members Have Fired Agents

Over 7,000 members of the Writers Guild of America have fired their talent agents, the Hollywood union said on Monday.

As promised, the guild delivered a first round of termination letters to agents in a show of support for the WGA’s full-on war with the Association of Talent Agents.

“Today the Guild delivered a first batch of over 7,000 termination letters from WGA members to the non-franchised agencies,” a memo to members obtained by Variety said.

The mass firing comes a week after the WGA sued the big four agencies — CAA, UTA, WME and ICM — for allegedly violating state and federal law by charging packaging fees on shows and films that feature their clients.

“We look forward to the day when we are all represented by agencies who have agreed to align their interests with ours; in the meantime, writers will continue working, continue supporting each other, and continue to prove that we can and will make the necessary change happen,” the memo continued.

Only roughly 5% of WGA members did not vote in favor of a code of conduct that would cease packaging fees. The agencies have maintained a position that the guild is intent on throwing the entertainment industry into “chaos,” with insiders increasingly worried dealmaking will grind to a halt.

The WGA has deputized lawyers and managers to represent members in future deals. The ATA has threatened legal action against those reps, should they act in their stead. The WGA has pledged to pay damages any lawyer or manager might suffer as a result.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Members,

As of April 12, the WGA’s records showed 8,800 current members with an agent. Today the Guild delivered a first batch of over 7,000 termination letters from WGA members to the non-franchised agencies.

99% of the members who signed the Statement of Support have fulfilled their pledge by terminating their non-franchised agencies.

These are astounding, powerful numbers.

Thank you. We’ve done what was necessary. Most of the writers who haven’t yet signed termination letters are retirees or no longer actively working. Guild staff will reach out to that group while as writers we will move forward and focus on achieving our goal, which remains the same: to realign agencies’ interests with the interests of writers.

The primary source of pressure on agencies to sign the Code of Conduct is their lack of writer clients. Therefore, adherence to Working Rule 23 remains the main responsibility of all Guild members. Please review the FAQ to be sure you are in full compliance.

Also vitally important is support for members who are without agents and looking for work. Your response to the call for solidarity and mutual assistance is inspiring: showrunners reading scripts, writers boosting other writers through mixers, hashtags, Google spreadsheets, or just one-to-one member outreach. We have also expanded Guild resources, and you can find them here.

We look forward to the day when we are all represented by agencies who have agreed to align their interests with ours; in the meantime, writers will continue working, continue supporting each other, and continue to prove that we can and will make the necessary change happen.

In Solidarity,

WGA-Agency Agreement Negotiating Committee

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