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Talent Agency Chairman Adam Bold Accused of Fraud and Misconduct

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Adam Bold, the self-made millionaire and majority owner of talent representation firm A3 Artists Agency, has been hit with a lawsuit from his partners accusing him of sexual misconduct and running the company into the ground.

In court papers filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, agency CEO Robert Atterman and president Brian Cho accused Bold of plunging the company into financial chaos with overspending, squeezing out leadership in a proposed sale of parts of A3 to rival agency Gersh, and developing a reputation as “office creep” and “sex pest” to nearly 200 employees.

“In an astonishing run of terror, Bold has squandered everything,” the filing reads. “A3 is in a state of chaos and dissolution as its agents jump off the sinking ship and flee to A3 competitors, or wait in shock and fear for the next shoe to drop.”

Across departments like a well-known young talent division and film and TV literary, A3 represents clients including “Seinfeld” alum Jason Alexander, Vivica A. Fox and “Christmas Vacation” star Beverly D’Angelo.  Bold acquired a majority stake in the agency in 2018, which was then known by its legacy name Abrams Artists. Atterman is a 35-year veteran of the agency, with Cho approaching the 25-year mark.

In addition to asserting that Bold is a habitual cocaine user who often appears intoxicated at the office and during company events, the lawsuit says “Bold has sexually harassed nearly all of A3’s female employees, fired those he deemed unattractive, [and] creeped out male and female employees with lewd remarks” about women and his romantic preferences.

“This lawsuit is a shake down and pure extortion. All of the allegations about drug use and sexual misconduct are completely false and I have evidence to prove it,” Bold said in a statement to Variety. The executive went on to say Atterman and Cho’s attorney Bryan Freedman had a “personal vendetta” against Bold and the agency. Finally, Bold said the complaint itself was in breach of “all partners’ fiduciary duty” and would have negative consequences.

Freedman, who is representing Atterman and Cho alongside Brian Turnauer, decried Bold’s “grandiose narcissism” and said the. lawsuit would hold him accountable. Freedman also noted that Bold was “not important enough to have a vendetta against.”

The suit maintains Bold created a toxic workplace by pitting agents against each other, and that the result of this behavior “has been a series of threatened lawsuits and civil rights complaints by A3 employees … resulting in confidential settlements and an exodus of agents and their clients.”

Atterman and Cho also say there were coerced into signing new employment agreements this May, ones that limited their executive power. In September, reports hit that Bold was in talks to sell A3’s literary and digital divisions to Gersh. Atterman and Cho said they had no visibility into these negotiations and had less clarity on what would be left of A3 after the transaction.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Bold as top decision maker at A3, as well as punitive damages for Atterman and Cho.

Agent exits have mounted at A3 this year, the most recent being partner Jamie Pillet in late October. Three other partners — Justin Baxter, Pamela Fisher and Billy Serow – preceded her out the door. No agency, especially at the scale of A3, made it out of the strikes unscathed. A3 was one of the first to institute a small round of layoffs in July, as the SAG-AFTRA conflict heated up. While firms of all sizes cut staff and overhead, the Tuesday lawsuit says chairman Bold sped in the opposite direction.

Bold insisted on upgrading A3’s New York offices, the suit says, occupying a floor at Manhattan’s Empire State Building – which came with a $2 million price tag for “ furniture, decorations, and other accouterments,” the complaint said. That’s on top of $160,000 monthly rent, which was an estimated four-times higher than the company’s previous New York location. Last week, on November 28, the owner of the Empire State Building filed a complaint to the New York Supreme Court asking for $1.2 million in back rent.

Bold’s desire to project wealth and excess in order to lure clients, as the suit puts it, included $500,000 on Rolex watches for the company’s agents. Shortly after he secured the majority stake, Bold also hosted a lavish employee retreat which included space for plus ones. All in, it cost over $1 million, the suit said, “which was a staggering percentage of A3’s total operating capital.”

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