AFTRA WARNS PERFORMERS OF POTENTIAL MEMBERSHIP SCAM
Also Informs NY, NJ, and CA Regulatory and Consumer Agencies
Los Angeles, CA, September 30, 2005—The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) has issued a warning about a scam intended to defraud performers. Upon receiving a report that Fisch Industries Global, Inc., a company representing itself as a casting agency for AFTRA-covered programs, is asking performers to pay money to be applied to the union’s initiation fee and/or dues, AFTRA immediately posted a warning on its website (www.aftra.com) and sent a notification to its members. The notice warns all performers – members and potential members alike – that this is a scam and no such relationship or process exists. Further, AFTRA is asking any performer who is approached by any company that represents itself as a casting agency, talent agency, or production entity, and asks for a payment towards an AFTRA initiation fee and/or dues, to contact the AFTRA offices in either New York or Los Angeles. AFTRA will then notify the proper authorities. AFTRA does not have any arrangements with any outside companies to collect performers’ initiation fees and/or dues, and any attempt to collect money on AFTRA’s behalf is unauthorized and fraudulent.
In letters sent to the New York State Consumer Protection Board, the New York Department of Consumer Affairs, the New York City Better Business Bureau, the Newark Attorney General, the California Department of Labor, Actors' Equity Association, and Screen Actors Guild, Megan Capuano, AFTRA’s National Director of Agent Relations, reported this “aggressive scam intended to defraud performers,” and stated, “In any industry, but particularly in the entertainment industry where performers are often the target of unethical and unscrupulous behavior promising stardom, this type of behavior is dangerous, inappropriate, unethical, and illegal. AFTRA takes all claims of this nature very seriously and seeks to prevent future abuses of this kind. We remain committed to doing what we can to educate performers and members of the public about these types of misrepresentations.”
AFTRA’s website alert provides contact information, including email links, for the AFTRA National and Los Angeles Local Agency Departments.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – affiliated with the AFL-CIO – is a diverse national union representing over 70,000 professional performers, broadcasters, and recording artists in 32 Locals throughout the country. AFTRA members work as actors, broadcast journalists, dancers, singers, announcers, hosts, comedians, and disc jockeys in all aspects of the media industries including television and radio, sound recordings, commercials, non-broadcast/industrials, interactive games, and the Internet. For more information, visit AFTRA online at www.aftra.com.