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Sage Steele Sues CAA For Breach of Fiduciary

Sage Steele Sues CAA For Breach of Fiduciary

After suing ESPN for allegedly suspending her in retaliation for comments she made on a podcast regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, former ESPN host Sage Steele has filed a lawsuit against CAA and her agents over their handling of the standoff.

Steele, in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses the agency of breach of fiduciary duty for failing to properly advocate for her. She points to statements from her agent Matthew Kramer, CAA’s co-head of sports media, in which he neglected to demand that Steele not be required to apologize for criticizing Disney’s vaccination policy and lied to the ex-ESPN anchor about having the “head of CAA legal” review her contract regarding the mandate, instead sending the document to a junior attorney.

In a podcast with NFL quarterback Jay Cutler, Steele in 2021 expressed skepticism about private companies requiring employees to get vaccinated. She said the mandate was “sick” and “scary to me in many ways,” indicating that she only complied to keep her job. ESPN and Disney told her to publicly apologize and suspended her.

After settling the lawsuit last year, Steele left ESPN.

According to Tuesday’s complaint, CAA had a conflict of interest stemming from its representation of Adam Schefter and Adrian Wojnarowski, both of whom received lucrative extensions that were announced in 2022.

“Too often and at any opportunity to benefit itself, it is not CAA’s clients and their best interests that are prioritized, it’s CAA’s bottom line and its lucrative relationships that are the driving force behind its agents’ motivations — even when it’s at the expense of its own clients,” the complaint states. “This case exemplifies the morally corrupt ways CAA routinely engages in self-dealing, overt conflicts of interests and willful misconduct.”

CAA didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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The filing of the complaint follows Terrence Howard suing CAA last year for an alleged conflict of interest in the agency’s dealing over his compensation on Empire. He alleged his agents who packaged the deal with Fox prioritized the interests of themselves and the show’s producers, which it also represented, by inducing him to take below-market salaries over his six-season run starring in the series. CAA declined to comment.

More to come.

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