Will ICM Exposé Be Hollywood’s Wakeup Call Over Bad Behavior?

”All that ‘outrageous’ or ‘toxic’ behavior is a byproduct of previous generations that are inevitably aging out,“ a top agent tells TheWrap

After a searing L.A. Times exposé of sexual harassment and bad behavior at Hollywood talent agency ICM Partners on Wednesday, industry insiders wondered if this would be a bellwether moment to dislodge an entrenched culture of bullying and harassment in the entertainment industry. 

The answer is not at all clear. “I don’t think it will change much,” a top agent who declined to be identified told TheWrap. “All that ‘outrageous’ or ‘toxic’ behavior is a byproduct of previous generations that are inevitably aging out.” 

Veteran agent Robb Rothman, a partner in the Beverly Hills boutique agency Rothman Brecher Erich Livingston, agreed. “Talent agencies were notorious for that [kind of behavior],” he said. “It’s been toned down in recent years… Anything that gets people held to account for bad behavior is a good thing.”

In interviews with a half-dozen industry insiders, none express shock at the Los Angeles Times’ account of extreme workplace behavior such as a partner berating a female agent until she cried, or agents making derogatory comments to their assistants, or executives asking Black support staffers to pose as agent-trainees, or an agent making unwanted advances on an actress client. 

Indeed, one veteran producer — a supporter of the #MeToo movement — told TheWrap that the article did not “make the case of institutional harassment and bullying,” at least based on the accusations detailed in the piece.  Other talent reps reflected a “whatever” attitude to the article’s revelations. 

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Beatrice Verhoeven, PWS

Beatrice Verhoeven

Film Editor, Twitter: @bverhoev

Umberto Gonzalez

Umberto has been covering the fanboy beat & breaking scoops for 20 years with numerous Hollywood trade, newspaper, & magazine mentions to his credit. Umberto has been profiled in such publications as The Washington Post, Variety and Grantland.