Entertainment NewsHollywood is Now Blaming Talent Agencies for #OscarsSoWhite

Hollywood is Now Blaming Talent Agencies for #OscarsSoWhite

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Major talent agencies may be the reason why there's little to no diversity in Hollywood and in the Oscars.

While everyone is blaming voters for the lack of diversity in the film industry, many people are starting to blame Hollywood's biggest talent agencies for not promoting diverse actors to star in major motion .

According to a new report by The Hollywood , the lack of diversity is being addressed in a major lawsuit started by Charles Lenhoff, who runs the boutique Lenhoff & Lenhoff.

The lawsuit centers around the alleged claims that major talent agencies, such as UTA and ICM, are dominating the film industry by controlling and limiting fair competition. Consequently, hurting the chances for non-white actors to land leading roles.

Lenhoff is suing UTA and ICM, and what started off as a lawsuit focused on the poaching of a few of his clients has slowly evolved into an examination how UTA and ICM, along with non-defendants WME and CAA, are dominating the scripted television market, whether they've impeded fair competition and what has been the impact of what's occurred. As the litigation has played out, with Lenhoff amending his complaint three times, the focus of his ire has been directed squarely on “package” arrangements.

As THR explains, talent agents are typically paid a flat commission, but the major Los Angeles talent agencies are changing their model by “packaging the key talent for a project before bringing it to a studio.”

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

You see them in all of the latest and movies? This has to do with their major talent agencies spending millions on promoting their talent and partnering with studios to produce productions that benefit their leading actor.

This used to be against the rules. In 2002 the expiration of Rule 16(g) of the franchise agreement between the Screen Actors Guild and the Association of Talent Agents allowed for talent agencies to “possess any financial interest in a production or distribution company”.

Consequently, talent agencies have started making millions upon millions of dollars. And ultimately impact diversity.

According to Lenhoff's lawsuit, minorities are struggling to find because the four major talent agencies control the film industry.

Representation of minorities in between the 2001-2002 and -2015 television seasons has fallen even further.

“Despite being the gatekeepers in the television development process, the Uber Agencies have not produced scripted series packages that promote significant advances in television diversity, and indeed, representation of minorities in between the 2001-2002 and 2014-2015 television seasons has fallen even further. This dismal record with respect to diversity can be attributed to the Uber Agencies shifting their focus from representing the artist/person to ‘the package,' in part to further their co-packaging agreements and fee splitting with each other and to further the exclusion of non-Uber Agencies from the market.”

In fact, the lawsuit claims that major talent agencies control 94 percent of the film industry. 

At the end of the day, Hollywood is facing a major diversity backlash with latin actors starting a hashtags to promote diversity, and boycotting awards show. Ultimately,  many people are upset and the answer to fixing the diversity problem is not black and white.

What do you think? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Megan Dianehttps://www.projectcasting.com
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.

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