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#IStandWithTheWGA: Patton Oswalt, Megan Amram, and Other Writers Have Fired Their Agents

The ATA agreement with the Writers Guild of America expired at midnight, but writers had their letters ready hours before.

I Stand With the WGA

Following last night’s dramatic conclusion to the ongoing standoff between the Writers Guild of America and Association of Talent Agents, a number of WGA members have officially fired their agents.

The Writers Guild left the negotiating table after extending its deadline with the ATA by six days last weekend, with the practice of agency packaging — which the WGA considers to be a conflict of interest that stagnates writers’ salaries — at the root of the conflict. The ATA agreement expired at midnight April 12, and is now replaced by a Code of Conduct that agents must abide by in order to represent WGA writers. The code forbids packaging, agents are not signing it, and that leaves the writers ending agency relationships.

Few WGA members  seem happy that it’s come to this, but those speaking out on social media stand with the guild. In addition to Patton Oswalt, Megan Amram, and Jon Cryer, the scribes responsible for everything from “Big Fish” and “Broad City” to “The Bold Type” and “Empire” have informed their agents that “if your agency has not signed a franchise agreement with the Writers Guild of America, whether in the form of a Code of Conduct or a negotiated agreement, under WGA rules I can no longer be represented by you for my covered writing services.”

“You are still receiving money from our employers for access to us, and keeping 99% of the profits of your backend,” wrote WGA President Goodman in a letter to the ATA in response to its proposal. “It does not change your incentives at all. It is not a serious proposal and we reject it. Despite your protestations to the contrary, these production companies are not independent of your agencies, your private equity investors openly talk about how your leveraging representation of clients to create a production business is why they invested. While we acknowledge that you have made favorable talent deals, they are clearly a loss-leader strategy. We do not need to ‘wait and see’ to know they will disappear when the business settles in. We reject this proposal.”

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