Spurned talent agent: I didn’t have a prayer
A Delray Beach man is taking on the celebrity-heavy, space alien-loving Church of Scientology. Jonathan Elliott, 44, a former Tinseltown talent agent, last week filed a federal lawsuit against the group in Fort Lauderdale.
He alleges that his now-defunct Evolve Talent Agency was unable to flourish because of what he claims is the church’s stranglehold on showbiz.
Elliott is asking for $4.5 million in lost income and business opportunities. Simply because he isn’t a member of the L. Ron Hubbard-founded organization, Elliott said, he couldn’t find entertainment gigs for his stable of actors.
He cites the marketplace competition-preserving Sherman and Clayton acts as his claim’s basis.
“In the five years my business existed, I managed to get one of my actors one movie job,” said Elliott ó who says he is the son of Jack Elliot, the composer of the scores of such TV staples as Charlie’s Angels and Barney Miller. Before agreeing to be interviewed, Jonathan quickly asked: “Are you a Scientologist?”
“Statistically, there are probably 100,000 different movie and TV parts on any given year,” he said. “You’d think I could have done better. But if you’re not a Scientologist, in Hollywood you’re nothing. The church’s policy is to discriminate against nonmembers, and now that their people are in key positions, it’s hard.”
And those include some of the biggest box office draws: actors Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Juliette Lewis and Ann Archer; musicians Chick Corea and Isaac Hayes; TV personalities including Greta Van Susteren; and movie directors and producers. Among the group’s set of beliefs: that humans are inhabited by the souls of mysterious space travelers.
“Indeed there are many Scientologists in entertainment,” said church spokeswoman Karin Pouw. “But there are lots of members in all facets of life.
“I haven’t seen this lawsuit, but it sounds completely bizarre. We work with everybody.”
Elliott said he moved out of L.A. a year ago and came to Delray to work in telemarketing. He said the church’s WPB offices on Congress will be served the paperwork Monday.
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