7:55pm PT by Ashley Cullins
CAA Sued Over Agent's Alleged Sexual Assault of a Client
CAA and agent Cameron Mitchell are being sued by an actress who says she was continually sexually harassed and assaulted on multiple occasions.
Demi Mann says Mitchell discovered her at Coffee Bean, told her he would be her agent and mentor, made repeated false promises — including promising a role on a Marvel television project — and brazenly abused his power to gain her trust in order to have sex with her. She says he spent a year and a half working to make her feel beholden to him while failing to submit her for roles.
Mitchell is a motion-picture talent agent who represents Common, Djimon Hounsou, Gabrielle Union, Demetrius Shipp Jr., Reginald Hudlin, Terrence Howard and Will Packer.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in L.A. County Superior Court, Mann says Mitchell offered to give her highly confidential documents that would give her information on projects and auditions that other actresses didn't have and said there was an unwritten rule that agents only did this for clients if they were sleeping with them. She also says he named two successful actresses and told her they got their "real start in Hollywood" by being willing to have sex with their talent agents. From there came invitations to parties and late-night texts. Mann says he told her she needed to attend dinners, club events and afterparties to meet various directors, producers and casting directors in order to advance her career.
In June, Mann says Mitchell told her he needed to come to her home to give her a "present." When he arrived, he said he needed to take a shower and then came out of the bathroom in a towel. Despite her shock, Mann says Mitchell then sat on her love seat and talked to her about entertainment executives and projects before grabbing the back of her head and forcing her to perform oral sex. Afterward, he got dressed and told her they would "talk later."
Then, in August, Mann says Mitchell demanded she come to a late-night event to discuss a contract. Throughout the night, she says, he urged her to consume "drink after drink." He then told her he needed to speak with her inside his car about a project she was up for and told her he wanted to book a trip with her for her birthday. Mann says she told him she only wanted a professional relationship with him and reminded him that he had a wife and children. This upset him, according to the complaint, and he again grabbed her head and forced her to perform oral sex before she escaped the vehicle, crying.
In September, Mann says she met with Mitchell at SkyBar in West Hollywood. Later that night, the actress claims she woke up in her own bed with no memory of what had happened and with Mitchell laying next to her, naked, and pulling her on top of him.
Mann says she reported the incidents to CAA's human-resources department on Oct. 13, but representatives of the company refused to meet with her. She also claims the company's sexual-harassment and assault training for agents is "woefully inadequate" or nonexistent.
"Moreover, in response to Ms. Mann’s statement to CAA that she feared for her safety in light of Defendant MITCHELL’s conduct, his ability to find her, and his repeated attempts to be in close physical proximity to her, CAA coldly divorced itself from the matter, refused to take any action, and advised Plaintiff in no uncertain terms that she would have to be solely responsible for her own safety," writes attorney Paul Philips in the complaint. "CAA’s position on this matter constituted a perpetuation of its policy of allowing and permitting its agents to engage in wrongful and unlawful conduct unchecked."
Mann is suing for assault, battery, sexual battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair business practices and negligence.
CAA sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement Thursday in response to the claims: “Although we do not comment on pending litigation nor specific personnel matters, we take allegations of this nature seriously, investigate them promptly and thoroughly, and take appropriate action.”