It’s hard out here for
a pimp an actor, particularly if you’re Black. Terrence Howard is suing talent agency CAA for allegedly pushing him to accept a lower salary than his White counterparts.
According to the L.A. Times, during his stint on the musical drama FOX’s Empire, Creative Artists Agency encouraged the actor to take pay well below the industry standard. The 30-year veteran played the lead role in the hit series. He sued CAA in Los Angeles’ Superior Court for constructive fraud, fiduciary duty and fraudulent representation.
According to a press release distributed Thursday, the Oscar-nominated thespian alleged CAA “placed their interests and the interests of their other clients above” his. He also claims CAA encouraged Howard “to accept talent fees that were far less than what he should have been afforded.” The agency not only represented the Iron Man actor but also producers of Empire and “numerous” other individuals over the program’s six seasons.
Howard only recently realized he deserved “a much higher salary given the success of the show” after conducting his own research. He maintains that he trusted CAA and believed “that these salaries were industry standard.”
During a news conference in L.A. on Friday, Howard’s attorneys at the Cochran Firm told journalists the actor received 30%-50% less per episode than he should have. The seasoned actor shared he received $350,000 per episode during the show’s final season. His legal continues to calculate the amount owed to Howard compared to his white peers.
“We expect our agents and our lawyers to look after us, and therefore we’re free to do all of the work that you guys enjoy so much,” Howard told reporters. “I trusted CAA to look after me, and they looked after themselves.”
Terrence Howard’s Lawsuit Accuses CAA Of “Racism,” Claims He Received Less Than White Lead Actors Despite Empire’s Better Ratings
The lawsuit cited racism as the motivation for the agency’s refusal to negotiate a fair contract for Howard. The acclaimed actor said he “cannot imagine” a white performer with identical “accolades and … world recognition” receiving the same mistreatment.
Terrence’s legal team stated, “Discovery will show that this was racism. You won’t find in discovery that a white actor — Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-nominated — was treated like that.”
He also alleges his agents gave him false salaries of actors who were actually making more money than him. Howard earned less than Kevin Spacey of House of Cards and Jon Hamm of Mad Men. However, both shows’ ratings were significantly lower than Empire’s. During its prime, the T.V. drama was one of the most-watched television programs on FOX. In addition, the series received several Emmy nominations and a Television Critics Association Award for Program Of The Year following its first season.
Howard’s reps added,
“CAA simply told Howard, ‘We’re not going to take the 10 percent agency fee this time because we packaged things together.’ In reality, it was a terrible thing because they had no incentive to fight for this man when he demanded to have his salary negotiated comparable to every other lead white actor out there.”
According to Terrence Howard, CAA lined their pockets while neglecting his interests. The talent agency also orchestrated deals for Empire’s co-creators, Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, and its production company, Imagine Entertainment. There’s no word if they intend to sue.
It sounds like ya boy has a case.
In the words of one Instagram commenter, “Give him his papers, mayne.”
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