“Following an investigation based on complaints of bullying behavior by Brent Smith, WME and Brent have mutually decided to part ways,” the agency has announced. The news comes after Smith’s Sept. 22 suspension for “behavioral issues,” first reported by Deadline.
Smith has represented a handful of high-profile musicians, including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean. Last month, insiders described an overall presence of bullying and “aggressive behavior” stoked by a power vacuum as the upper ranks of WME’s music division have shifted.
Smith has worked in the music industry for over 20 years, starting out at Frontier Booking International working for Ian Copeland. He then transitioned to WME and eventually became a partner, building an impressive clientele with staggering streaming numbers and massive arena tours to match.
But with the coronavirus pandemic, the touring industry has been upended, losing some 90% of its revenues in 2020 as artists and fans have been quarantined at home. Agencies across the board have faced layoffs and furloughs. Paradigm recently permanently laid off 180 of its 600 employees, six months after those agency staffers were temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June, WME saw Marc Geiger, the agency’s global head of music, exit after 17 years. He was followed by co-head of music Sara Newkirk Simon, who transitioned to a consultant role with WME parent company Endeavor.
In their stead, Lucy Dickins was upped to co-head of WME’s music division, joining Scott Clayton and Kirk Sommer, who also retain the titles of co-heads. The three run the agency’s music division whose roster also includes The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Calvin Harris, Shakira, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Luke Bryan and Eric Church, among others.