UTA Makes “Immediate & Painful” Pay Cuts As Coronavirus Hobbles Hollywood

Battered by the rapidly spreading coronavirus and its economic shutdown fallout, UTA are slashing salaries today to keep staff employed and the lights on.

“Like companies across the industry and our country, UTA is taking some immediate and painful steps to ensure we get through the current public health and economic crisis as strong as possible” said the Beverly Hills-based uberagency on Monday in a statement. The corporate remarks followed CEO Jeremy Zimmer addressing agents and other employees via a video hook-up today with David Kramer and Jay Sures.

“In addition to aggressive cost-cutting measures, this includes asking our colleagues at every level to take pay reductions, structured so our most senior colleagues make the largest financial sacrifice,” the statement added, as the top brass like Zimmer, Kramer and Sures cut their own pay to zero for the rest of what looks to be an economically rocky 2020 and beyond if necassary. “The understanding and support we’ve received from our colleagues has been incredibly gratifying, as is their recognition that these difficult steps are intended to ensure the long-term strength and viability of our company.”

“While we do not know what the future holds, we are committed to being candid and transparent about where things stand as we navigate these uncharted waters together,” the statement concludes.

In addition to the pulling of the pay plug for the top guys, partners are taking cuts of 35 to 50% in their base salary. With no layoffs, the plan over on Civic Center Drive is to graduate the cuts in relation to income with the lowest paid staffers being effected the least.

How long this latest move is the status quo for the more than 1100 people that work at UTA is unknown as the consequences of the pandemic spiral and confirmed cases rise domestically and worldwide. Like many companies, UTA is a mix of at-will employees and full-time staff under contract – with each category having rules of their own in such circumstances, even in extremities like the COVID-19 situation.

The specifics aside, the fact is all production has ground to a halt over the past two weeks and media hubs like L.A., NYC, Toronto and London in various forms of lockdown. Which means businesses that provide major revenue streams for agencies like UTA, WME and CAA have dried up to a desert – forcing all of the big boys to take unprecedented measures, with more likely to come.

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