During the ATA/NATR referendum Mr. T.J. Escott, EMPLOYER and ATA/NATR agent, not only placed fliers in the lobby of his NY & LA offices “advising” his clients to vote IN FAVOR of the ATA/NATR referendum–he also sent out LETTERS “encouraging” his clients to vote for it!
Now, if SAG leadership is sincere in their desire to go after all EMPLOYERS who have “INFLUENCED” referenda, why haven’t they filed suit against Mr. Escott? Ah, could the reason be that during that referendumthey BOTH HAD THE SAME AGENDA?
In fact, rather than SAG’s litigation-challenged attorneys just focusing on Mr.Vulich, a singular make-up artist who simply FORWARDED a few political e-mails, why not file suit against T.J. Escott who didn’t just forward letters but he WROTE them, and then “SHARED” them with his clients!
Oh, and let’s not limit the lawsuits to Mr. Escott but rather extend them to all AGENT EMPLOYERS who were “…pitching thesps on deal!”
And don’t try and make the argument that Mr. Escott isn’t OUR EMPLOYER! Well, HELLO? Neither is make-up artist Vulich! Both, however, are EMPLOYERS under SAG’s convoluted way of thinking! The only difference is that while Mr. Vulich has a limited staff of technicians that have NO INFLUENCE OVER ACTORS, Mr. Escott has a large staff of POWERFUL AGENTS that have a lot of INFLUENCE OVER THEIR CLIENTS. And one other thing we know, is that unlike Mr. Escott, Mr. Vulich had nothing to gain when he forwarded his e-mails for a friend!
Ah, its not like the SAG Leadership didn’t know what was going on! And it’s not like they don’t have plenty of witnesses to the violation! Actually, It’s more than likely that the Restore Respect dominated NEC is using our dues money, and the court system, to fulfill their own personal political vendetta!
Agents pitching thesps on deal (April 2nd 2002)
Letters supporting agency ownership in the mail
By DAVE MCNARY
Major Hollywood agents have started sending their actor clients individual pitch letters seeking approval of SAG’s tentative deal with the tenpercenters.
The move, which comes as ballots go out today to SAG’s 98,000 members, underscores the importance placed on the pact and its provisions to ease ownership restrictions on agencies while preserving the SAG master franchise agreement. Result will be announced April 19.
“Dear Valued Client,” began a letter dated Thursday, received by hundreds of thesps repped by Cunningham-Escott-Dipene. “We hope you will support the thousands of hours of hard work that went into arriving at a win-win agreement for actors and agents. The agreement provides for uncompromised representation and strengthens the partnership between the agency and acting community.”
The missives stem from an information campaign package that included sample letters and Q&A sheets and was prepped by the Assn. of Talent Agents and the Natl. Assn. of Talent Representatives, the trade groups that negotiated with SAG. An ATA rep said several agencies have sent out such info recently to help persuade actors to vote for the pact.
“I and everyone at CED feel that regulations in our industry are important,” wrote prexy T.J. Escott in the CED letter. “The old regulations were antiquated and unworkable. This agreement is an agreement that speaks to the industry as we know it in the 21st century. Without an agreement we are in a nether world that could lead to disruption and chaos in our industry. I and everyone at CED wholeheartedly support this agreement and ask you to give it your support as well.” *
Opponents of the deal have contended that allowing ad agencies, advertisers and indie producers to buy up to 20% of talent agencies will create unacceptable conflicts of interest and shrink opportunities for actors.
“The consolidation of power and the vertical integration under the deal will lead to fewer agencies and less jobs for actors,” asserted SAG board member Mark Carlton.
SAG also announced Tuesday that the deal includes a provision to expand access to agents. If the three-year deal is approved, SAG said it will be able to take these steps:
- It would hold Actors First Job Fairs in major cities, allowing members to meet one-on-one with agents and to participate in panel discussions and workshops with agents and casting directors.
- It would launch a Business Conversations program for smaller groups of actors and agents.
- SAG and ATA/NATR will launch a series of access days at agencies around the country with SAG sending members to selected agents for general interviews each month.
SAG prexy Melissa Gilbert said: “Getting an agent is one of the biggest hurdles an actor faces. These programs — made possible by approval of the SAG-Agency Franchise Agreement –will help open doors to our members, resulting in more opportunities for work for SAG actors.”
Carlton said the pledge of new SAG efforts in the agent arena is simply a way to sugarcoat a bad deal. “I think it’s a desperate effort to scare people into thinking they won’t be able to get an agent otherwise,” he added.
Opponents have also complained that members will be receiving a summary of the agreement rather than the full text. “This is such a bad deal for actors that we are not surprised that SAG won’t include the actual language,” Carlton said.
(formatting is SW’s)
Hey, wouldn’t EMPLOYER T.J. Escott’s statement to his CED clients WARNING them “that Without an agreement we are in a nether world that could lead to disruption and chaos in our industry!” qualify as what SAG General Counsel David White described as missives that are an “Illegal and harassing means to influence a union vote” that undermines “the fundamental right of our members to self-determination!”
Mr. White said that Mr. Vulich, the make-up artist, had “no business interfering with the rights of working actors to make the critical decisions of their union!” Wouldn’t this go doubly for T.J. Escott and all the other POWERFUL agents, who didn’t just forward a couple of e-mails that were already all over the Internet, but rather used the EMPLOYER-POWERS INHERENT IN THEIR POSITIONS to persuade their clients to VOTE THEIR WAY
Mr. White has said SAG will show “ZERO TOLERANCE!” Well, the Ol’ Watchdog suggests that SAG shows unbiased ZERO tolerance in their litigations –or you can bet that there will be lots of ZEROS attached to those dollar signs, in the settlements of counter lawsuits against our guild handed out by judges with ZERO tolerance for vendettas disguised as lawsuits!
A.L. Miller SW Editor & chief