New York comedian Tyler Fischer is suing a talent agency that he claims passed on representing him simply because he is a white man.
The Brooklyn-based comedian says he applied for representation from AGI Entertainment Media & Management in Manhattan and was met with a warm reception.
Fischer told the New York Post that he thought his meeting with the firm went well and that the staff there loved his work.
Indeed, they even allegedly asked if he’d like to audition for the show Curb Your Enthusiasm.
“He said, ‘Would you want to audition for Curb Your Enthusiasm? All these shows that I love and so it sounded like they wanted to work with [me],” Fischer said of his interview with the firm.
But then he claims it went off the rails.
“I was ready to sign the papers … and that’s when the conversation took a turn,” Fischer said.
Fischer added that AGI assistant Alex Brizel told him, “‘We love you. Everyone here loves you and thinks you’re a star, but we’re not taking you because you’re white.’ And that’s when my stomach dropped,” he said.
The entire claim is on tape & in plain English. I’m simply not allowing myself to be discriminated against for my skin color anymore. There’s no such thing as “reverse” discrimination. There’s one kind & everyone is protected under the law against it. https://t.co/X9wkVGBYR2
— Tyler Fischer (@TyTheFisch) May 21, 2022
That, Fischer explained, is why he is suing for discrimination in a lawsuit filed at the Brooklyn Supreme Court.
Fischer also said he recorded a phone conversation corroborating the discrimination charge, in which he says he asked, “So you guys like me, you want to work with me, you know I’ve got what it takes, but the only reason is because I’m white.” Fischer says the AGI rep replied, “yeah.”
Fischer also told his fans that AGI tried to offer him a settlement out of court but that he refused the offer. He wants this case to be heard, not papered over with hush money.
I'm currently suing a talent manager who told me they won't work with me because I'm a white man. They just asked how much money I want to settle out of court. UPDATE: I will not settle. I will take this all the way even if I don't get a dime. This "justified" racism must end.
— Tyler Fischer (@TyTheFisch) May 17, 2022
The comedian — who has appeared on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Chicago Med, and a few other TV shows — also said that several peers got in contact with him to relate their stories, too.
“I have endless people reaching out to me privately saying, ‘This happened to me. I’m too afraid to speak out.’ I had an acting agent reach out the other day who said, ‘You have no idea how bad it is. They’re not hiding it,” he said.
“Mr. Fischer’s lawsuit seeks to enforce the idea that individuals should be judged by their qualifications; not by their race, their sex, their gender identity, their religion, or any other innate characteristic. That idea needs to apply to everyone equally or else it loses its legitimacy,” said Fischer’s attorney, Lawrence Spasojevich.
For its part, AGI refutes the claims and has pointed out that “more than half” of the firm’s most recent new clients are white men. And while they say they won’t speak of ongoing litigation, the firm told the media, “we are proud to represent a roster of artists who we work with based solely on their talent.”
Fischer, who is suing for unspecified damages, added, “I’m hoping this can draw some attention to getting back to why are we putting race and gender and pronouns and all this before who’s qualified for the job.”
The comedian also has a weekly podcast, The Tyler Fischer Show.