Years before the LAPD opened a sexual misconduct investigation into Hollywood agent Tyler Grasham, his employers at the Agency for the Performing Arts received numerous warning signs about his behavior with underage clients, insiders told TheWrap.
Two former employees say that after a sexual harassment seminar in the fall of 2013, at least one person complained to management about Tyler’s behavior with minors — including serving alcohol to them in an office nicknamed “Neverland.”
The person who complained about Grasham, according to the two insiders, pointedly asked APA’s de facto human resources executive Joanne Johnson: “Why are there drunk kids wandering the halls?”
APA denied the insiders’ account. “That allegation is absolutely false,” a lawyer for the agency, Adam Levin, wrote TheWrap. Johnson denied ever hearing such complaints, the lawyer said.
But a former client of Grasham’s told TheWrap he gave her alcohol, in his office, while she was underage.
“Multiple talent agents complained over the years about Tyler’s behavior to senior management,” said a former senior employee.
Grasham, a top agent to teen stars including “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard, was fired in October after TheWrap reported on young men who accused him of plying them with alcohol and sexually assaulting them. Police in Los Angeles and London are investigating three accusations against him.
Now many current and former APA employees are struggling with how much top executives knew about Grasham’s conduct, and what could have been done to to stop it. One partner in the company was known to frequent parties at Grasham’s West Hollywood home, where three men say Grasham made unwanted advances on them.
“Our investigation into the allegations regarding Tyler Grasham is ongoing, and as a matter of policy APA does not comment on ongoing investigations,” an APA spokesperson told TheWrap.
Neither Grasham nor Matthias Wagener, the lawyer investigating accusations against Grasham on behalf of APA, responded to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
‘Drink After Drink After Drink’
“Tyler’s office was like Neverland Ranch,” said one former agent, who described complaining to Johnson, likening Grasham’s office at APA’s Beverly Hills location to the property where Michael Jackson was accused of giving wine to boys and molesting them. (Jackson was acquitted in 2005.)
The office was equipped with a basketball hoop and other games for his guests. A former employee and a former client said he served alcohol to actors under 21 in the office, both signed clients and young talent who hoped he would represent them.
The former client, a TV actress, told TheWrap she drank alcohol Grasham gave her in his office before she was of age, but that he did not make any sexual advances. Excessive drinking is a recurring theme in the accounts of Grasham’s accusers, all young men.
Actor Brady Lindsay told TheWrap that Grasham took him to a restaurant in West Hollywood in 2016, when he was 18, and plied him with several glasses of wine and champagne before making unwanted advances on him. Blaise Godbe Lipman said he was served alcohol at age 18 and assaulted at Grasham’s home in 2007. Lucas Ozarowski, who was 24 when he met Grasham in 2015, said the agent took him to a Los Angeles bar and “he was giving me drink after drink after drink. I started to leave them in the bathroom.”
The LAPD is investigating a complaint from Ozarowski, as well as a report from actor Tyler Cornell that Grasham sodomized him. London police are following up on British actor Jack Edwards’ report that Grasham served him several drinks and gave him a pill before assaulting him in a London hotel room in 2010. He was 15 at the time.
No Paper Trail to ‘Neverland’?
The agent who complained about Grasham said Johnson took no notes, and three former employees said she was generally inconsistent in her handling of official paperwork and documentation. Johnson would get distracted in sensitive conversations to the point of sorting jelly beans that she kept in a jar on her desk, two of the individuals said.
Johnson reports to APA’s CEO Jim Gosnell, the insiders said. Gosnell runs the agency on a “granular level,” one of the individuals said.
Work and Play
One partner at the company, literary agent David Saunders, was known for not being especially social, one of the former employees said, except when Grasham invited him to parties at his home. Grasham’s residence was where three accusers said they were served alcohol, subjected to unwanted advances and, in one case, assaulted, as TheWrap previously reported.
“I’d doubt David was involved in any of the creepy stuff Tyler was doing, but he was an older guy who wasn’t very social on his own. Tyler often had something going on, and if David wasn’t encouraged to leave the house, he wouldn’t,” one of the former staffers said of Saunders.
Grasham had been an agent at APA for 11 years. But another insider said Saunders wouldn’t have been in any position to promote him.
“David may have interacted with him socially, and been there for parties, but he didn’t have any say in either Tyler being promoted from an assistant or his contract renewed every three years. That was Ryan Martin,” the insider said.
Grasham was promoted from the assistant level by his boss Martin, the head of APAs talent department. Martin, who sits on APA’s board of directors, was also responsible for renewing Grasham’s contract in three year increments, a former senior employee told TheWrap.
APA’s business has suffered over the Grasham scandal. Wolfhard (“Stranger Things,” “It”) fired the agency only days after TheWrap’s first report hit. Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) also parted ways with APA over the scandal, one insider familiar with her decision told TheWrap, in addition to leaving manager David Guillod of Primary Wave Entertainment, who has been accused of sexual misconduct with four women.