The Casting Couch


Dear Modeling Scams,

I was recently a victim of John Doe sexual harassment, and scammed out of $600 for acting classes. I have met several women who have the same story.

I can have the other women write you, and give you the details of their experience. I will let you see a letter I wrote to him... I have not decided if I am going to send it yet.

I met two former John Doe Agency employees, and they both shared quite a bit of info. They said he uses the same tactics on many women (some underage).

I also know one of his teachers, and she confirmed that the script he has women read, including myself, is one he made up.

Anyway, my letter is lengthy, but it gives all the details.


March 3, 2002

Mr. John Doe:

I will be very forthcoming with this, as I feel that is how people should always be.

It has been very apparent in the three months I have been associated with your agency, that you are far from forthcoming, basically dishonest, and in need of a reality check.

I am an honest person with values and high standards. I was not aware of your reputation when I first went to your office after replying to your ongoing ad in the AJC for the "Murphy's Bar II" audition... I see you changed the cable pilot to "Suds" this week.

I was told by a credible source that this or these cable pilots are about as close to being produced as I am to being an aerospace engineer.

I am by no means sheltered or naive, and usually I am one to research thoroughly. But in this case, it came a few days too late. I let your tactics pull me in, and I handed over my credit card without thought, because you played on my dream and my emotions.

Little did I know at the time that the Better Business Bureau only accepts complaints from consumers if a company fails to provide a product/service, and it has been paid for.

Customer Service (i.e., misleading people, sexual harassment, etc.) is irrelevant to the complaint. The only voice a dissatisfied John Doe Agency consumer has with the BBB is to write a detailed letter of circumstances, and it will go into the company's file. The company file is sealed unless court subpoenaed... Nice little loophole that works to your advantage.

But there's still the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General.

It did not take long for me to see that your primary focus is the money your "classes" bring in, and selling headshots done by an office staffer who has no photography experience.

Of course, there's the supplemental income of the $99 fee to be listed on the John Doe Agency website.

All this can be yours, and you, too, can be cast as an extra, or do promotional work for a small wage... that, by the way, anyone can get without an agent by merely calling a number, checking out website bulletin boards, or picking up a Creative Loafing.

Then the poor soul has to turn around and give your agency a 50% commission (robbery) for the first job you book, then 15% thereafter for extras parts.

I will say this, I think I learned some helpful material from the teachers, Jane Doe, in particular. Nonetheless, comparing the classes to a Bachelor's or Master's program is quite misleading, so the person who hasn't shopped around thinks that $1,200 is a great deal for "The Backstreet Players" education (a couple of students with degrees whom you solicited to teach).

$1,200 for nine classes, then conning the "soon to sign" by stating that since the "side reading score" was passing, you will "pay" for half, to make them feel they're getting a really good deal at $600.

Wow -- without a "passing score" your two-hour classes are $133 each? That's an exhorbitantly priced class compared to others, (perhaps if Meisner himself were teaching... Wouldn't fly with SAG though).

It gets better... you will pay for the photography, but require a $25 fee to book the studio time (the dingy little office, next to yours). And all the actor has to pay is $165 for 250 headshots... wait, plus the inconvenience of having to come back into the "studio" several failed times, because the pictures were poor due to lighting. Thought the second shots would surely be good, as you stated you previously shot photos for "REDBOOK."

What a deal! All the while, it's done in-house.

You deceptively take the money, like it is fair game to take, and mislead people with lies. The most deplorable part of this, is that for many, like myself, the lies come with totally inappropriate sexual misconduct.

You play the old school/L.A. "casting couch director" so you can get off at their expense. This plays with people's minds, and is quite sick. If you're going to do this, at least have a credible, decent carrot to dangle. Not a non-existent "Vampire of the Medusa" role with character names from the early 80's... Or a "Young and the Restless" script, where the made-up script setting is [unlisted city].

I am amazed that you have managed to stay in business for 20+ years without being jailed, or, at the very least, being almost beaten to death by one of your casting couch victim's family members.

I don't understand how you can make your living (and actually sleep at night) by conning people out of their hard-earned money, and playing with their minds like you do.

Who have you booked principal movie/tv roles for in the last few years? If you're going to lie, at least be good at it and retell the story the same.

I am in no way a vindictive person. As I said previously, I am honest, with a good heart, and never like to see anyone hurt. However, I am also knowledgeable and well aware of what people are capable of; I have been fortunate enough to have never before encountered anyone as deplorable as you in all of my 34 years... that speaks volumes.

I grew up with a father who was an undercover FBI agent for 30 years with quite a circle of friends/associates... I was privy to very interesting information. My B.A. from [unlisted university] is in Psychology, and I studied Criminology and Sexual Deviations... you are text book material! I'd rather stick to reading fiction about people like you.

It's one thing when someone harms another without intent. But to knowingly and repeatedly con people to satisfy your own shallow financial and sexual needs at the expense of others is really crossing the line.

Your actions warrant action, and you should be put out of business, and exposed to all for who you truly are. You are accountable for your actions, and, like it or not, at the very least you will have to answer to them morally.

There are many people willing to corroborate these facts to bring you to some form of justice. I am really surprised that you don't have more sense in this day and age to take several things into consideration. Especially with the advances in technology/communication.

People communicate very efficiently with the internet bulletin boards, interaction on sets, etc.... word of mouth travels. Aren't you even aware of the current media sensation?

You would think with all of the "Whistle-Blowing" segments on news shows today, you would wisen up... Maybe get some therapy for your pathological lying and sexual deviance problem to at least keep yourself out of the court system.

I guess you figure you'll just take advantage of the percentage who answer your ad, and are willing to trust you briefly. You get their money; screw with their head; give them a few bogus scripts; videotape them on a video camera (that has to be at least 12 years old); and book them a few low-paying extra jobs.

It doesn't stop there... You try and get them drunk at the Rusty Nail rehearsing the bogus scripts, (after you've told them to wear white Victoria's Secret panties, thigh highs, etc. to the "rehearsal" at the Rusty Nail); then try to get inside their panties...

By the way, that wasn't in the script.

Maybe part of your business plan is that once they've caught on, they'll just quietly go away, and leave you to your devices.

Not so... You have crossed the line for too long, and you have have also crossed the wrong path, Mr. John Doe.

When you decided to cross this path, you didn't take into consideration that I am bright and extremely resourceful. It takes a lot to make me mad, but when you do... watch out! It is not okay to play with this woman's mind, or anything else.

I'm sure I speak for many here. You and I both know, and as much as you are in denial, there's quite a large consensus who would agree that your "Agent Rehearsal with Talent Act" at the Rusty Nail is not acting -- it is molestation. Molestation comes with a bonus package called "Emotional Violation."

Oddly enough, as fate had it, I have met several women who have relayed that they had the same experience with you.

One in particular was underage at the time of her "Rusty Nail experience." She stated that you kept trying to buy her alcoholic drinks knowing she was underage. She also disclosed a lot more.

Hopefully you have the sense to finally be honest and not to play the "mutual consent" card, (or "sour grapes"), because all along you maintained that "it's acting for the scene," and that you want them to do well... And that you hope they didn't feel taken advantage of.

The caveat to this? I have checked around on acting class rates, and the average is $25 per class or $99 per month. (See John Smith's webpage).

The way I calculate it, you should reimburse me for $400, and the negatives to all of the pictures you have taken of me. (This includes the "Vampire scene" prints you have in your possession.)

Why? Because it is the very least you should do. I can't begin to put a price on my self-worth and dignity you so shamelessly disregarded; and what you disgustingly replaced that with after inflicting your sociopathic tactics on me. Nobody likes to feel violated and used.

Here's something for you to ponder: Your three-year-old daughter, Emma, will someday be a young woman in this society. Would you want her to some day experience what you now inflict on women, while she's at home asleep?

The truth prevails, and what goes around comes around... and how could you think it wouldn't come around to you eventually?

I strongly suggest that you not in any way attempt to discredit me or cry "slander." I have a clean, reputable background, and numerous credible people to substantiate this.

I read this article the other day on WorldNet Daily, and who do you think came to mind?

Who's Responsible?
By Bill O'Reilly
WND
2/21/02
 
When I was a kid, I tried to weasel out of everything I was caught doing, and I bet you did, too. That's what kids do -- the weasel dance. But my father always told me real men and women are supposed to stand up and take responsibility for their failures and indiscretions. My dad is gone now. He'd be outraged if he were still here.

I don't want any negative publicity, but if forced to, I will go very public... My attorney and family are well aware of the circumstances.

K.L.