Trust Your Instincts

Why Your Life May Depend On It

Advisory From
Rocky Delgadillo,
Los Angeles City Attorney

Lately, the news is full of tales of performers for whom a supposed innocent audition or job turned into a nightmare. Auditions and jobs are important but they should never outweigh the importance of preserving your safety and well-being. Always trust your gut reaction. If a situation feels wrong, it probably is. Don’t let a predator cut short your career (or your life!).

SAG went to the experts to determine how its members could best protect themselves in this risky environment. We sought the advice of City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, whose department investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes those who commit criminal acts. We are pleased to pass on his advice and urge you to give it serious consideration.

Too often we hear about events involving aspiring actors and actresses who go on what they believe are routine auditions and wind up being sexually abused, beaten or, tragically, murdered. Every day, actors make a difficult decision about attending an audition led by someone that they don't know. While the City Attorney's Office won't be able to go with you on the audition, our prosecutors are here to help if you are the victim of a sexual abuse case or a financial scam.

For example, my office can file sexual battery charges against a person who inappropriately touches an actor or actress in a sexual manner during an audition. Another prosecutable offense is the use of hidden video to record activities during an audition. If you have been victimized—or know of someone who has--by this type of conduct, the City Attorney's Special Enforcement Section will put you in touch with an agency to commence the investigation for possible prosecution. Prosecutors can be reached at 213/978-8040.

Another illegal scam actors and actresses should be aware of are talent agents, managers or counseling services that stage fake auditions and then ask for money for photographs, classes and other similar services. When we learned about this scam, the office sponsored the Advance-Fee Talent Service Act, which outlawed those kinds of arrangements. For referrals to investigative agencies, victims should contact the City Attorney's Consumer Protection Section at 213/978-8070.

These crimes can only be stopped if actors and actresses start the process by making a complaint. The legitimate industry does not tolerate abuse of the audition process and neither should you.