Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Disgruntled Showbiz Parents File Suit Against Kiddie Talent Agency

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 3:35 PM

click to enlarge ...But not for free
  • ...But not for free
Not everyone can have the glamorous life of Lindsay Lohan or Macaulay Culkin. A mob of angry parents this week filed a federal class action lawsuit in San Francisco district court claiming  a talent agency called Be Productions -- which used to have an office location in Emeryville -- unlawfully charges for its services, publishes misleading information on its brochures and Web site, and, most importantly, didn't make their kids into stars.

The lawsuit claims that Be Productions is an unregistered, advance-fee talent agency (i.e. pay now, fame later) that has been violating the Advance Fee Talent Service Act by referring members to acting classes and other services with financial links to Be Productions (thus directly profiting from their referrals), among other transgressions. KGO-TV investigated the company and its Emeryville studio location last year -- which SF Weekly assumes was after KGO ran a cutesy piece on the company featured prominently on Be Production's Web site.

Legit advance-fee talent services -- which are still arguably pretty sketchy (more on that here) -- are mandated to post a $10,000 surety bond and adhere to a host of tight restrictions, according to the Advance Fee Talent Service Act. Although representatives for Be Productions haven't yet responded to inquiries from SF Weekly, the company has been quoted in the media claiming that it does not fall under AFTSA because it is only a referral service and doesn't offer classes or other services of its own.

Not surprisingly, the lawsuit claims otherwise. According to court documents, plaintiff Kenneth Taylor paid Be Productions $2,520 for the "Guest Star" package and plaintiff Timothy Dufour purchased the "Movie Star" package for $3,000. Both claim they made installment payments for three months, and then canceled their payments when they couldn't reach the talent director assigned to manage their kids' careers (the lawsuit alleges that the company had to consolidate and was forced to close a number of its California offices). Plaintiffs claim that the company still insisted they pay the full amount and essentially threatened to ruin their credit if they didn't pay.

And there may be hundreds more like Taylor and Dufour if the "BeProductionScam" blog is any indication. Be Production has a treacherous road ahead -- because the only thing scarier than a mob of angry wannabe showbiz parents is a mob of their all-grown-up, non-famous children.

H/T   |   Courthouse News

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