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Terrence Howard Files Lawsuit Against CAA Over “Empire” Salary Dispute

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Acclaimed actor Terrence Howard, best known for his role in the hit series “Empire,” has filed a lawsuit against Creative Artists Agency LLC (CAA), alleging a conflict of interest in the handling of his salary for the show. Despite the immense success of “Empire” during its six-season run, Howard claims he was underpaid, receiving $325,000 per episode at the peak of the show’s popularity. The lawsuit not only highlights financial discrepancies but also points to racial motivations and a lack of agency representation in Howard’s best interest.

Terrence Howard, who played a pivotal role in Empire and contributed significantly by rewriting scenes and acting as a de facto producer, expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation provided under his contract. He contends that CAA, the agency responsible for negotiating his deal, failed to secure a fair salary comparable to other actors of his stature in the industry, citing examples like Kevin Spacey in “House of Cards” and Jon Hamm in “Mad Men.”

In a statement, Howard expressed frustration, stating, “I was never given a producer credit even though I rewrote most of the scenes and acted in the capacity of a producer.” The actor’s legal team argues that misinformation about industry standards, provided by CAA, led to a substantial underestimation of Howard’s market value.

The lawsuit further alleges racial bias on the part of CAA, claiming that Howard was treated differently due to his race. His attorneys assert that during negotiations, CAA did not prioritize Howard’s interests, failing to secure a salary comparable to his white counterparts. The legal team contends that a discovery process will reveal instances of racism and a stark contrast in treatment between Howard and other actors.

Notably, the lawsuit addresses the broader issue of packaging fees within talent agencies. Howard’s attorneys criticize CAA’s role as a packaging agent, where the agency represents multiple interests, including actors, producers, and its financial stake in the project. This practice, according to the legal team, compromises the fiduciary duty owed to the client, as agencies prioritize their financial gains over the best interests of the talent they represent.

The case involving Terrence Howard sheds light on the complexities within the entertainment industry, emphasizing the need for transparency and fair representation. As the legal battle unfolds, it brings attention to broader issues of equity and fair compensation in Hollywood.

Written by
Derek Chan – Editor

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