Creative Artists Agency chief executive officer Bryan Lourd shot back at eyebrow-raising comments by longtime rival agency CEO Ari Emanuel on Thursday, regarding recent litigation brought on to CAA by actress Julia Ormond.
Emanuel, CEO of the parent company to WME, attended Bloomberg’s Screentime conference this week and called for Lourd and his longtime partner Kevin Huvane to “take a leave of absence” amid a lawsuit from Ormond. That suit charges The Walt Disney Company and CAA with compliance in abuse Ormond says she suffered at the hands of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
“We all know Ari Emanuel to be an incredibly performative and erratic and in my mind self-serving human, I think much to the detriment of not just his colleagues, but his clients, the few that he’s got left. More importantly, his investors,” Lourd said during his own session at the Bloomberg conference.
Going in further, Lourd was incredulous that Emanuel would try to take high ground on issues involving women. He invoked incidents involving Dana White, the head of Emanuel-operated Ultimate Fighting Championship, who was filmed at a party slapping his wife in 2022.
“The idea that he in anyway could hold himself out as morally superior to anyone, but specifically around challenges to women — it’s ironic that the companies that he’s let his group into and the men that he’s partnered with and defends are maybe his advisors on women’s issues. But these are very serious issues. They’re not meant for any hypocritical soundbites, so you’re not going to get any from me,” said Lourd.
He concluded by saying the agency was “falsely accused” by Ormond and “we’re going to address those accusations in court, in a proper forum.” The agency previously denied any wrongdoing in response to the “
The Lourd conversation eventually rolled into CAA’s recent majority stake sale to Artemis, the investment entity held by French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault.
“All the brand alignment is there. They’re aspirational. On a human level, they love creativity. They like wine,” Lourd said to laughs. “They are as ambitious as we are with a lot of capital and [are] longterm thinkers.”
Finally, Lourd touched on the on the breakdown in SAG-AFTRA strike negotiations this week.
“What I … and my colleagues across town have done is to try and force communication. What I hope happens is that everyone learns from this,” he said. The executive also gave an important warning about the survival of the town – that the studios and streamers must not wait until next year to begin negotiating with artisans and crew union IATSE.
I hope a negotiaton begins immediately with IATSE. We cannot leave that union out until June of next year with the risk of positioning that has to occur. It will gut the business” he said.