by Gus Garcia-Roberts, LA Times:
The Los Angeles-based talent agency APA fired Hollywood agent Tyler Grasham on Friday following allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed multiple young men in the industry, prompting one of his top clients to leave the firm.
Grasham first came under scrutiny Monday when filmmaker Blaise Godbe Lipman alleged that, as a teenage actor a decade ago, the agent had “fed” him alcohol and then sexually assaulted him.
At least two other men — an editor and actor — have since come forward with stories of more recent unwanted sexual advances and harassment by Grasham. The Times interviewed each of the accusers.
Additionally, the 14-year-old actor Finn Wolfhard, of “Stranger Things” and “It” fame who had been represented by Grasham, left APA, according to a source who was not authorized to comment.
A representative of Wolfhard’s did not immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.
A second client of Grasham’s, 18-year-old actor Cameron Boyce, had also decided to fire the agent before Grasham was terminated by APA, the actor’s publicist said. “In light of the allegations he felt it necessary to part ways with Tyler Grasham,” the publicist, Kasey Kitchen, said of Boyce.
APA had previously announced that it was investigating the allegations. Grasham had been put on leave before his firing was officially announced Friday afternoon.
“Tyler Grasham’s employment with APA has been terminated effective immediately,” the agency’s head of communications, Manfred Westphal, said in a statement. He said he could not provide any further information.
Grasham did not respond to requests for comment.
The men said they were inspired to speak out as part of the “#metoo” campaign in which social media users have aired their experiences with alleged sexual harassment in response to the unfolding scandal surrounding disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein. More than 40 women have complained that the co-founder of the Weinstein Co.sexually harassed or assaulted them over two decades.
Founded in 1962 by former MCA executives, APA’s website bills it as “one of the largest diversified talent agencies in Los Angeles.” In addition to actors, the firm represents musicians and other performers. Many of its clients are child actors.
Lipman, 28, whose acting credits include appearances on several TV shows, including “Weeds” and “Hawaii Five-0,” made his allegations in a Facebook post Monday.
Lipman alleged in the post and in a later interview that the incident occurred in the summer of 2007 when he was 17 or 18 — he said he could not remember which — and new to Hollywood. He said Grasham took him to lunch under the pretense of having APA represent him. Lipman said Grasham ordered him alcohol over the actor’s protestations that he wasn’t old enough to drink legally. The agent then brought him to his home and sexually assaulted him, Lipman said.
After the incident, Lipman alleged, Grasham made harassing phone calls to the actor and spread mistruths about him in an effort to hurt his career.
In the post, Lipman blamed APA for allowing Grasham to keep a stable of clients that included child actors. “I find it incredibly difficult to believe they do not know of his predatory behavior, using his position within the company to prey on naive kids,” Lipman wrote.
“I was young and desperately wanted acceptance within my industry,” Lipman wrote on Facebook. “His threats felt very real. Although my initial reaction yesterday and today was to not make this about me, there’s no better time.”
After Lipman’s post, two other men made similar allegations on Facebook or in interviews with The Times.
Lucas Ozarowski, a 27-year-old film editor, alleged in a Facebook post on Thursday that Grasham groped him at his home following an APA party two years ago. Grasham “pulled my pants open and aggressively grabbed my genitalia,” Ozarowski wrote. “I had to forcibly remove his hand and got up and left his house.”
Ozarowski also posted screenshots of what he said were harassing messages Grasham sent him following the incident.
Ozarowski told The Times that on Friday he had contacted the Los Angeles Police Department in order to file a complaint against Grasham. He also said that he had received a call from a man identifying himself as an investigator for APA, seeking a statement about his allegation.
Brady Lindsey, a 19-year-old actor, said in an interview with The Times that Grasham first messaged him on social media when he was 16 and living in Utah. Lindsey said that when he moved to Los Angeles in late 2016, and had just turned 18, Grasham took him to dinner at an Italian restaurant.
Lindsey said that he believed the dinner was “partially” in order to explore possible representation by APA, “although I knew he was interested in me, though I made it clear I wasn’t interested in that.”
At the restaurant, Lindsey said, Grasham ordered him three glasses of wine before they went to the agent’s home for dessert. There, according to Lindsey, Grasham made unwanted sexual advances including grabbing the actor’s crotch.
Lindsey said he allowed Grasham to kiss him. “I was fresh in L.A. and I didn’t want to ruin my career before it got started so I let that part happen,” the actor said.
On a later occasion at a barbecue, Lindsey said, Grasham made more unwanted sexual advances, prompting the actor to leave. He said that the agent continues to send him messages on social media.