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Lawyer Blames Hollywood Talent Agencies for Lack of TV Diversity
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Summary: An antitrust attorney alleges big talent agencies are the reason television is not diverse.

There’s little doubt that Hollywood lacks diversity, but who’s to blame? According to one antitrust lawsuit, the reason there are mostly white faces on television is because of the talent agencies who package deals.

  
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The Hollywood Reporter writes that a suit against big Hollywood agencies, UTA and ICM, examines how they and other non-defendant agencies WME and CAA are dominating the scripted TV landscape by impeding fair competition. The focus has been on “package” arrangements, which are when actors, producers, or other crew are signed on as a group to sell a deal.

The suit was filed by attorney Charles Lenhoff of Lenhoff & Lenhoff.

Lenhoff says that diverse talent is having a harder time finding big representation unless they are marquee names; and diverse talent not represented by a big agency can’t be a part of a package and thus can’t get on screen. The big agencies represent 94% of scripted television.

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The Hollywood Reporter points out that Lenhoff’s claims about television lacking diversity is unfair. It points out that successful shows such as Empire and Scandal were staffed by big agencies. For instance, Corey Hawkins of 24: Legacy is represented by ICM.

However, Lenhoff’s lawsuit is not directly about discrimination, The Hollywood Reporter says. It’s geared towards non-fair competition. Jumping upon the hot topic of non-diversity frames his suit to the alleged effects of larger agencies beating out smaller ones. But one challenge Lenhoff has is proving those mega agencies are actually in collusion.



Lenhoff has amended this suit previously and has hired Maxwell Blecher, an antitrust attorney, to join his fight. Previously, U.S. District Court Judge Beverly Reid threw out the case because of insufficient factual details, but she gave him an opportunity to amend his lawsuit, which he filed last week.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter



 

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