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Former CAA agent Cameron Mitchell, who was fired from the agency last November after aspiring actress Demi Mann accused him of multiple sexual assaults, contends in a new statement that she is “fabricating her story, likely for material gain.”
Mitchell, whose clients have included Common, Nia Long, Jordan Peele, Terence Howard and RZA, has largely remained silent since Mann filed her lawsuit. But now his representatives have released a statement to TheWrap in which he says CAA fired him without due process because of new sensitivity in the post-Harvey Weinstein era.
“I am concerned that we have moved into a space of trial by media and public opinion, as opposed to due process. Mann has come after me unchallenged as a means to gain access to CAA’s deep pockets,” Mitchell said. CAA is a co-defendant in Mann’s civil suit.
Mitchell said in a statement that Mann was an unrepresented aspiring actress, in the U.S. on a visitor’s visa, when she approached him to represent her at CAA. (She said in her lawsuit that he “discovered” her in a Culver City Coffee Bean shop in fall 2013, and that he soon promised to “set her up” on a Marvel TV show on ABC.)
In his statement, Mitchell said that he tried to help her as an unofficial client, setting up auditions, meetings and introductions at social events. Mitchell’s team said it was normal for agents to set up such meetings for unofficial clients before agreeing to represent them, pointing to the example of actress Mirtha Michelle Castro Marmol. His statement included a quote from Castro Marmol: “Before being signed as a client, Cameron took a chance on me and I truly appreciate his help launching my career.”
But Mitchell said Mann failed to make a good impression on the people she met, and then blamed him for her own shortcomings. He said that two days after discussing this with her she filed a complaint against him with CAA’s human resources department. (Mann has said she went to the agency last October 13.)
The statement from Mitchell’s representatives said:
After an exhaustive internal investigation by CAA, during which Mr. Mitchell was suspended with pay, Mitchell was informed that he could return to work and did so. Ms. Mann then hired an attorney who filed a baseless civil lawsuit against both CAA and Mitchell, attempting to capitalize on the cultural climate in an effort to leverage Mitchell and CAA for monetary gain.
The actress’ public campaign cost Mitchell his job. In a climate of heightened awareness, as soon as the lawsuit was publicized, although no corroboration for her unsubstantiated claims have been produced, CAA had no choice but to cut ties with Mitchell quickly, rather than parse details.
Mann’s account is dramatically different.
“There are other things that are going to come to light in this case that are going to make his claims of fabrication terribly embarrassing to him,” Mann’s attorney, Paul Philips, told TheWrap.
In her lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in November, Mann said Mitchell offered to get her confidential documents that would give her an inside edge on projects and auditions, but that there was an unwritten rule that agents only did this for clients who agreed to sleep with them.
Last June, her lawsuit said, Mitchell went to her home, said he needed to take a shower, and emerged in a towel. They discussed business briefly, she said, and then he forced her to perform oral sex.
In August, she said, he demanded she come to a late-night event to discuss a contract, urged her to consume drink after drink and again forced her to perform oral sex.
Mann said that in September she met Mitchell at SkyBar in West Hollywood, and later woke up with no memory of what happened and Mitchell next to her, naked. She said he pulled her on top of him. She contends that he drugged her drink at SkyBar.
Mann says CAA representatives initially refused to meet with her when she approached the HR department last October. She called the company’s sexual-harassment protections “woefully inadequate” or nonexistent.
CAA said in a statement in November: “To the extent Mr. Mitchell formed a personal relationship with Ms. Mann, it was solely that, and outside the bounds of a professional relationship between CAA and Ms. Mann. With respect to Ms. Mann’s specific accusations against CAA, the agency categorically denies them and will vigorously defend itself in the litigation.”
The agency also said its representatives spoke with Mann “multiple times,” suspended Mann pending the outcome of its investigation, and ultimately fired him when it “received new information not previously revealed during the agency’s investigation.”
On Friday, a person familiar with CAA’s HR investigation said Mann was not fired because of a “climate of heightened awareness,” as Mitchell argues, but rather because other people came forward after Mann filed her lawsuit with information CAA didn’t have during the HR investigation.
Mitchell’s team also included a quote from civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, whose clients have included Trayvon Martin’s family, but who is not involved in the case:
The current cultural environment has made way for a long overdue positive impact on society that hopefully effects wholesale change, safety, fairness, and the opportunity for all to thrive. Exploitation based on gender, sexual orientation, race, financial status, and media value must be rooted out wherever it’s found. When discovered, we must be cognizant of due process, ensuring each individual’s constitutional and legislative right is honored. As someone who knows and works with Cameron, I hope he is afforded the fairness and due process he is entitled to by the law.