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APA dismisses WGA demands

The president and CEO of the US’s Agency for the Performing Arts (APA) has become the latest to blast the Writers Guild of America (WGA) for its part in the ongoing stand-off with the Association of Talent Agencies (ATA).

In a statement released on Friday, Gosnell said his organisation “has no intention of signing the WGA’s code of conduct, which in its current form will have a negative impact on our clients by limiting their choice, opportunities and privacy, among other things.”

US-based Verve Talent and Literary Agency made headlines last week after agreeing to sign up to the WGA’s code. As well as other stipulations, it requires agencies to eliminate the packaging fees they currently charge for bundling talent and bringing projects together for TV shows.

More than 7,000 of the WGA’s members, including high-profile writers such as Shonda Rhimes, David Simon and Damon Lindelof, fired their agents last month after members of the ATA, including CAA, WME, UTA and ICM Partners, refused to sign the new code.

APA said it too would be standing “in unity” with the ATA and accused the WGA’s action of adversely affecting the members it is meant to represent.

“While the WGA negotiating committee continues to hurt the very members its leadership allegedly is trying to protect, it is our sincere hope that the WGA committee will return to the table to negotiate in good faith so we can work together to bring stability back to our industry.”

Verve is not an ATA member and nor does it own an affiliate production company, which is one of the key factors in the dispute. However, it does represent around 300 writers and joins 60-plus smaller agencies to have signed up to the WGA code.

In response to APA’s statement, the WGA said: “APA was founded in 1962 by former MCA agents when Bobby Kennedy’s Department of Justice told Lew Wasserman his agency had to choose between being talent’s employer or being their representative. Now APA apparently thinks such conflicts are legal and desirable, but for writers they are not.”

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Drama Awards 2019
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