An actress is suing CAA and an agent she says sexually assaulted and harassed her, accusing the company of refusing to meet with her when she attempted to report the agent’s behavior.
In a lawsuit filed in L.A. County Superior Court on Thursday, actress Demi Mann accused agent Cameron Mitchell of a long-term campaign of sexual harassment, of forcing her to perform sex acts and, in one instance, of drugging her. She also accuses Mitchell, a movie talent agent whose clients include Common, Djimon Hounsou, and Terrence Howard, of making repeated false promises to her, and failing to find her roles.
In a statement provided to TheWrap Thursday night, CAA said “although we do not comment on pending litigation nor specific personnel matters, we take allegations of this nature seriously, investigate them promptly and thoroughly, and take appropriate action.”
But on Friday, the agency issued a lengthier statement clarifying its position. CAA denied that Mann was ever a client, and denied that it had failed to properly respond to her report. But it said it fired Mitchell after it “received new information not previously revealed during the agency’s investigation.” (See more here.)
Mitchell “discovered” Mann in 2013 at a Coffee Bean in Century City, according to the lawsuit. Over the next two years he pursued Mann repeatedly until, the suit says, she agreed to become his client on Nov. 23, 2015. It was on that date, the suit says, that Mitchell first became “unprofessionally close” to Mann by “changing the meeting location from CAA’s offices to the Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills.”
Once she became his client, Mann says Mitchell repeatedly made false promises of helping her find work and instead made her attend social functions and other events as a means of pressuring her to have sex with him.
The suit alleges that Mitchell isolated Mann, forbidding her from talking to anyone else at CAA. She said that later, after sharing “what he told her were highly confidential CAA documents,” Mitchell told Mann that he was providing preferential treatment to her, and that such treatment only occurred “as an unwritten rule in Hollywood, if actresses would sleep with their agents.”
The suit contends that on Sept. 22, 2017, after meeting Mitchell at the Sky Bar, she “found herself on her own bed hours later without memory of what had occurred during that span of time, and with Defendant MITCHELL lying next to her fully naked.” Mann says she was “subjected to the ingestion of a
drug or other foreign substance sufficient to render her defenseless” by Mitchell.
The suit also says Mitchell repeatedly tried to pressure Mann into taking illegal drugs including cocaine, and that he increased his harassment when she refused his sexual advances.
The suit also claims that Mann attempted to report Mitchell to CAA Human Resources on October 13, 2017, but the company “refused” to meet with her. “Moreover,” the suit states, “CAA coldly divorced itself from the matter, refused to take any action, and advised Plaintiff in no uncertain terms that she would have to be solely responsible for her own safety.”
The lawsuit also says that CAA “requires woefully inadequate and/or no” sexual harassment training for its agents and employees, “fails to provide pre-emptive education and direction on the topics of sexual harassment, assault, battery, and gender discrimination,” and maintains a corporate culture in which “agents are knowingly permitted and encouraged to engage in unlawful conduct in the assertion of their power and clout over persons similarly-situated to Plaintiff.”
Mann is suing CAA and Mitchell for assault, battery, sexual battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair business practices, and negligence.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the lawsuit.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.