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Agencies Tighten the Belt as Pandemic Drags on With Furloughs, No New Expenses

As the coronavirus shutdown carries on, agencies start to cut back

As talent agencies in Hollywood feel the effects of a city-wide shutdown, ICM Partners on Wednesday furloughed “floating assistants,” support staff not assigned to a specific agent or department, TheWrap has confirmed.

Those affected were paid a month’s salary and medical benefits were extended through May. When the agency reopens its Century City headquarters, the staffers will have the opportunity to reapply for their lost positions.

Additionally, WME has temporarily frozen expense reimbursements and future expenses are prohibited until further notice, a source tells TheWrap. Staff cuts have not yet hit WME, CAA, and UTA.

Paradigm Chairman and CEO Sam Gores announced that the agency would furlough roughly 100 staffers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and reduce payroll for those who remain on staff.

The exact number of employees furloughed is not known, but the agency employs at least 600 people. In a companywide conference call on Friday morning, Gores assured staff that he would made every effort to provide for the furloughed employees, including health care. The furloughs are expected to last several months at least.

Paradigm, whose sizable music division has been hard hit by the stoppage of all concert touring, is the first Hollywood talent agency to undergo cuts. Other talent agencies are expected to follow suit.

The news came one day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered residents statewide to stay at home in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The order, which went into effect on Thursday at midnight and will last “until further notice,” will affect nearly 40 million people.

“This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said at a press conference on Thursday evening. “This is a moment where we need some straight talk and we need to tell people the truth: We need to bend the curve in the state of California.”

Variety reported