The day of reckoning might be here for agency culture.
Hollywood has been fraught with recent allegations and exposés about misconduct. Legendary producers Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin are indicative of how the town has tolerated bad behavior in the past, with only recent transgressions landing them in hot water.
Today, the Los Angeles Times broke a story about major misconduct within ICM, which is considered to be one of the top three Hollywood agencies (alongside CAA and WME). The allegations range from harassment to abuse, to general misconduct with a lack of consequences or recompense.
According to the article, “more than 30 former and current ICM employees said in interviews that the company tolerated a hostile work environment, where women and people of color were subjected to harassment, bullying and other inappropriate conduct. Since 2017, nearly a dozen women reported allegations of mistreatment by male agents and managers company wide to ICM Partners’ human resources department or senior leaders, according to interviews with the women and those with direct knowledge of the incidents.”
It's a brief glimpse into where Hollywood has been for the last several decades. We hear stories of the agency allegedly using Black employees as props for photos, to show diversity in sectors of the company which did not exist. There are allegedly employees who inappropriately DM'd women who worked at the company and also allegedly exposed themselves to business partners.
There are also allegations of items being thrown at assistants, name-calling, and intimidation.
While this may seem par for the course if we're in an episode of Entourage, this is and has been real-life Hollywood for many. The incidents described in the article are not old, but all occurring within the last decade, many within the last two years. The people called out are still agents, and some have been given raises or promotions since the incidents happened.
The main complaint is that there is no justice. HR seems to bury these indiscretions or just talk about change without putting solutions forward. While ICM has raised assistants' wages and worked to hire a more diverse staff, it does seem like behind the scenes not much has changed, based on this article.
One thing is for certain, the new generation has many more outlets to go to aside from human resources. The brave people who go on the record for these articles have ears at newspapers and on social media. The message is clear—these kinds of actions will not be tolerated any longer.
It almost seems unfair to single out ICM, when these types of indiscretions could happen and very well might be happening at every agency in town. Agencies, production companies, and other offices might look at an article like this and either hurry to change or rush to get in front of the one that could be published about them.
Time will tell if justice is served in any of these cases, but for now, we encourage no one to remain silent.