As the result of an undercover investigation by his office, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today the filing of criminal charges against five actors’ workshop businesses to stop “pay-to-play” schemes.
The five businesses listed in the release include The Actors Link, The Actor’s Key, Casting Network, Studio Productions, and the now shuttered Actors Alley. The businesses have allegedly violated the Talent Scam Prevention Act of 2009, authored by then assemblymember Paul Krekorian, and sponsored by the City Attorney’s office, that makes it a misdemeanor for talent workshops to charge for an audition or employment opportunity. The legislation came as a result of casting workshops charging actors to read in front of a casting director or their staff under the guise of providing educational classes or instruction.
The five complaints charge a total of 20 defendants, including 18 casting directors, associates or assistant who served as “guest instructors” at the five workshops.
“As the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles continues to attract thousands of aspiring performers from across the world,” Feuer said in a statement. “My office will continue to crack down on those who would take advantage of performers desperate for work.”
The actors’ workshop companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
The statement says the city attorney’s office launched its investigation into “pay-to-play” casting workshops in January, 2016 in response to anonymous complaints.
Between February and April of that year, a professional actor working as an undercover informant under the direction of the city attorney’s office attended 13 casting workshops at five businesses. This actor also attended consultations with workshop representatives, inquiring about which workshop guest would increase his chances of getting cast by an instructor.
If convicted, each of the 28 defendants could face up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine, plus penalty assessments for each count. Arraignment is scheduled for mid-March.
Contact media and entertainment reporter Diane Haithman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @dhaithman for the latest in L.A. business news.
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