(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — After enduring a month long battering from the New York Post, the William Morris Agency is ready to fight back.
The multi-faceted agency has hired celebrity lawyer Bert Fields to strike back at the tabloid, demanding a retraction on the grounds of libel.
The Post has printed multiple articles over the past month, detailing what they called a “mass exodus” of clients and financial problems plaguing the agency. The slew of rumors began flying after a New Yorker interview with WMA President/Agent David Wirtschafter, in which he spoke candidly about the agency’s clients, clients’ salaries and agency practices.
According to The Daily Variety, Fields sent a letter to the paper demanding a retraction, but is also looking to uncover the source of the allegations, whom he believes to be with another agency.
“I have a good idea who it was that put the Post up to spreading this vicious load of garbage,” Fields told Variety. “When I can make a positive identification, that amoral snake is going to be sorrier than the Post.”
Field’s letter directly addressed the Page Six gossip column that ran this past Sunday, which asserted that the “beleaguered” agency was holding an “emergency meeting” over the weekend at the Shutters on the Beach hotel in Santa Monica in order to “stop the bleeding at the troubled tenpercentery,” according to Variety. The gossip article continued, claiming that WMA was so financial distressed that it may sell the Beverly Hills office entirely.
In his letter to the paper, Fields vehemently denied these claims, saying “The agency is not ‘beleaguered.’ This is not an ‘emergency meeting,’ and it has nothing to do with stopping any ‘bleeding.’”
Fields referred to the meeting as “utterly false in every respect,” and the sale of the WMA headquarters as “demonstrably false.” He said the meeting, which took place on Monday, was merely a retreat for the agency’s motion picture department, “a normal and customary corporate practice.”
Fields’ letter to the paper also strongly denied the gossip column’s claim that in addition to agents Michelle Bohan and Todd Feldman recently leaving, George Freeman was now “rumored to be headed for the door.”
In the weeks following the Wirtschafter interview, the Post detailed every move by everyone associated with the agency — including the departures of clients Halle Berry and Sarah Michelle Gellar, the departures of agents Bohan and Feldman, and the retiring of WMA veteran Steve Dontanville — angling the stories to depict the demise of the renowned agency.
Although the paper quoted WMA as denying the allegations in this Sunday’s Page Six column, Fields’ letter said the piece was still libelous and demanded that the tabloid “retract at least the false assertions I have described and to do so immediately.”
The paper had not responded at press time. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers