OAKLAND, Calif. — Four adult female performers have filed a complaint with California’s Labor Commissioner against talent agency LA Direct Models and its owner, Derek Hay, alleging numerous improprieties.
The performers, all named as Jane Does in the complaint, signed deals with Hay for representation, but said that they’ve been led down a pathway of fraud.
Hay failed to account for all fees earned, coerced them into improper business arrangements — including those involving sex acts — and threatened to destroy their careers if they didn’t comply with his wishes, according to the claim, which seeks a disgorgement of revenues and fees the four models earned and revocation of Hays’ agency license, as well as attorneys’ fees.
Industry attorney Allan Gelbard, who represents the four performers, told XBIZ that he and his clients are looking forward to “presenting a compelling case, supported by sworn testimony and other evidence, to the state Labor Commission.”
Gelbard said he thinks that there are other adult performers in the industry who may have faced the same circumstances, and that they should raise their hands.
“I believe that, in addition to my four clients, there have been numerous other performers who have contacted the labor commission alleging similar conduct,” Gelbard said. “Obviously, I would like to speak to them as possible corroborating witnesses.
“If there are others who have experienced or witnessed the type of conduct we have alleged in our complaint, I urge them to contact my office or the state Labor Commission.”
The gravamen of the complaint filed last month by Gelbard on behalf of his clients is that Hay acted in bad faith while representing them.
“Once [performers] enter into exclusive multi-year agency agreements, [Hay] fails to account for all fees earned as related to their employment and uses his power to coerce them into improper business arrangements, and improper, unwanted and in some cases unlawful sexual relations with himself and others,” the complaint said. “Unless they comply with his wishes, he intentionally destroys their careers by refusing to book them for work, even when specifically requested.”
Hay, the suit said, unlawfully employs multipage contracts, only a single page, to “lock-up” performers for many years.
“These contracts provide for additional and unconscionable fees and penalties which he then coerces performers to either pay in cash, or ‘work-off’ by performing sexual acts on him,” the complaint said.
“Hay willfully breaches his fiduciary duty to his clients by requiring producers to pay amounts in excess of his clients’ agreed upon fees for the opportunity to hire his clients in the first place; and then fails to pay his clients their contractually obligated share of these fees which are directly related to their employment.
“Most egregiously, he coerces some of his performers into ‘escorting’ and then, should they seek to terminate their (illegal) contracts, threatens to ‘out’ them for performing illegal sex-work.”
Hay did not respond to multiple XBIZ requests for comment today. An associate reached through LA Direct Models main line said that Hay could not be reached because he was “out of the country.”
One of the Does involved in the suit identified herself to XBIZ as Charlotte Cross.
Cross, who gave her consent to be identified for the story, said that when a predatory talent agency takes advantage of performers, "they need to be held accountable."
“This has been going on for far too long and we refuse to be silent any longer,” Cross told XBIZ. “The women that have chosen to speak up have decided fair working conditions are more important than their own careers.
“In my experience, most of the well-known agencies abide by the laws set forth by the state of California and treat their clients respectfully. We deserve the same from Direct Models.”
Gelbard emphasized that he is proud of the female performers who have come forward with their complaints.
“Each has alleged conduct that is unacceptable in any evolved society,” Gelbard said. “Each has done so with the hope that they can prevent this from happening to others, now or in the future. It is an honor to represent them.”
Gelbard also noted that in his 20 years of practicing law, this may be his most important case to date.
“It is not my practice to try my cases in the media, so the allegations in the petition will have to speak for themselves for now,” he said. “My clients and I look forward to presenting a compelling case, supported by sworn testimony and other evidence, to the state Labor Commission.”