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Managers Call SAG-AFTRA’s Code of Ethics ‘DOA’ After Survey (Updated)

98 percent of respondents to National Conference of Personal Managers query say they won’t sign

Personal managers nationwide have overwhelming rejected the Personal Manager Code of Ethics and Conduct rolled out by SAG-AFTRA earlier this week, according to a national survey conducted by the National Conference of Personal Managers and released Thursday.

“The survey showed 98 percent of personal managers will not apply to sign on to the SAG-AFTRA Code,” Clinton Ford Billups, national president of the NCOPM told TheWrap. “The remaining managers responded ‘maybe’ and only one responded that he would apply. Based on that and the other results of the survey, it appears that the SAG-AFTRA Code is dead on arrival with the personal management community.”

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Unveils Code of Ethics for Personal Managers (Updated)

The NCOPM online survey, emailed to more than 1,200 personal managers nationwide, also found that 96 percent of the survey respondents disagreed with the SAG-AFTRA Code’s inclusion of a provision that a personal manager “does not solicit and/or procure employment.”

“For NCOPM, the SAG-AFTRA code is moot. Our members must abide by the NCOPM Code of Ethics, which has been an industry standard for more than 50 years,” said Billups.

The managers organization is currently challenging the constitutionality of California’s 1978 Talent Agencies Act, which deregulated managers and has been interpreted as preventing them from procuring work.

The announcement of the survey results drew a quick response from SAG-AFTRA.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Fires Back at Critics of New Managers Code of Ethics

“NCOPM was invited to take part in the collaborative process of drafting this voluntary agreement,” said Zino Macaluso, the union’s national director and senior counsel, professional representatives department. “They declined.”

“The NCOPM had months to review the Code, provide feedback and help make it more responsive to their needs. They refused. They did not engage in good faith to create a mutually agreeable document. We assumed their attention was purely focused on their impending lawsuit against the State of California and not how to improve their relationship with SAG-AFTRA members.

“The flawed NCOPM push poll is not representative of the opinion  and attitudes of the entire management community or the members of SAG-AFTRA. The questions are suggestive and the results unreliable.

“We encourage all engaged personal managers to review the Code for themselves,” he added.

It’s clear the issue is going go remain contentious. NCOPM’s Billups said late Thursday that his group did indeed provide feedback as the code was being worked on, specifically at a Dec. 9 meeting.

Also read: Oscars: ’12 Years a Slave’ Screenplay Rift Between Steve McQueen, John Ridley Boils Over

SAG-AFTRA on Tuesday unveiled the code, a set of voluntary guidelines the union is hoping will promote honest and ethical relationships between its members and their managers. The guidelines draw distinctions between the role of managers and agents and say managers should not also be agents and that managers should help members find agents. Additionally, it calls on them to agree to arbitrate disputes through SAG-AFTRA, among other things.

Managers must agree to preconditions before signing on. Those who do will have their name and information listed on the SAG-AFTRA web site, just as current franchised agents are listed online.

The announcement of the code was welcomed by some in the managers community, but drew immediate fire from NCOMP and the Talent Managers Association. SAG-AFTRA sent a letter to its members Tuesday seeking to clarify the finer points of the program and counter what it called misleading criticism.