The ongoing struggle between writers and agents continues to get uglier, with the major talent agency WME filing a federal antitrust lawsuit Monday against the Writers Guild of America, Variety reports.
The suit reportedly accuses the guild of conducting an illegal group boycott as the group fights to prevent talent agencies from collecting packaging fees.
“WME’s complaint against the WGA West and WGA East accused the unions of conspiring to unreasonably restrict competition by implementing its Agency Code of Conduct in April,” Variety reports. “The battle between the WGA and Hollywood’s largest talent agencies led to thousands of film and TV writers firing their talent agents in April. The WGA filed its own lawsuit against WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners, seeking to invalidate packaging fees under California state law.”
The WME action reportedly accuses the WGA of engaging in a “concerted refusal to deal” that violates antitrust exceptions in federal law granted to collective bargaining organizations. “WME is seeking an injunction on the WGA’s enforcement of its Code of Conduct as well as undetermined damages,” Variety notes.
The publication quotes the lawsuit stating: “[T]he boycott to enforce their unlawful bans is nothing more than a ‘power grab’ masquerading as a legitimate exercise of union authority.”