WME manufactured a series of posters mocking rival agency CAA and plastered them across the Century City Mall just a few steps away from CAA's headquarters, several individuals close to the agency told TheWrap.
The red and white CAAN'T posters have also popped up in other locations acoss Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.
Neither CAA nor WME will comment publicly, but one individual said the logo was floating around internally at WME after agents saw an item with the phrase in the New York Post. WME co-chiefs Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel found it "hilarious" and the agency decided to act on it.
"It was something we saw and we thought it was funny," an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap. "So we put it out there."
The joke stems from a recent item on the Post's infamous page Six, which appears on the parody website CAANT.com. WME launched the site as well.
Under the New York Post masthead the homepage reads, "Just asking…WHICH recently nominated Oscar director loudly groused in a high-level meeting about being frustrated with his Hollywood agency by yelling: 'They should be called Caan't! Caan't, Caan't Caan'tttttttt!'? … WHICH"
Deadline reported earlier that a rival agency told them the anonymous director in the Post item was CAA client David O. Russell, who was nominated this year for "The Silver Linings Playbook."
TheWrap asked Russell if he had a comment on the attempt to tie him to the mystery, and he responded with a succinct email:
"Absurd. Ridiculous. Laughable. No way."
Ad agency J.C. Decaux allegedly sold the ads, which uses CAA's signature font.
Hollywood's two biggest agencies have been locked in a ceaseless feud since Endeavor merged with William Morris, creating an agency that could rival Hollywood's premiere shop in size and scope.
CAA just snatched "Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz back from WME while WME just signed "The Great Gatsby" star Carey Mulligan away from CAA.
This was a sardonic and more symbolic jab in a much larger battle, but clearly irksome to at least one side. CAA has asked that the mall take down the posters.