First major artist-agent contract dispute since the signing of the licensing agreement between the Screen Actors Guild and the Artists Managers Guild occurred last week, with Carole Lombard winning in an arbitration award over agent Myron Selznick.
Following conflicting reports on the outcome, the Guild issued the following statement: “It is not true, as reported, that Myron Selznick won the arbitration. Miss Lombard won. The SAG regrets that an agreement by the parties that the only announcement in this matter would be a joint statement has been violated. This makes it necessary for the Guild to state the facts in justice to its member, Miss Lombard.”
“The facts are: Selznick had a contract as Miss Lombard’s agent. Miss Lombard discharged Selznick as agent July 1, 1940. The substantial question at issue in the arbitration was whether the discharge was rightful.”
“The arbitration board held, in favor of Miss Lombard, that the discharge was justified and rightful; that Selznick’s contract was annulled, and that he had no right to commissions negotiated after that date.”
“The arbitration board held that Selznick was entitled of course to commissions for services prior to the date he was discharged and fixed the amount of these services at $27,500, which Miss Lombard will pay out of future earnings.”
“Even from a financial point of view, this was a minor point in the case compared to the total amount of contingent commissions at stake. The real point was whether or not Selznick could retain Miss Lombard as a client and receive commissions for future pictures.”
“On this, the board held against Selznick.”