Graphic artist asked by entertainment giant Showtime to work for no pay, rather “invaluable national exposure across multiple platforms.”
Responds appropriately, says Showtime is “unethical”, “devalues the work of everyone”
By Nate Thayer
August 16, 2014
Dan Cassaro, a graphic artist who runs a design business in Brooklyn, New York, received an email from the giant Showtime entertainment outfit last week asking him to submit his work to Showtime to help advertise and promote Showtime’s upcoming internationally televised professional boxing match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas .
Showtime, a multi-billion dollar for-profit corporation, said they wouldn’t pay actual money to Cassaro for his work, which would be used to promote what is expected to be a multi-million dollar profit-making endeavor, but he would be “eligible for a grand prize of a Las Vegas trip, in addition to invaluable national exposure across multiple platforms.”
Cassaro, makes his living from his art, and whose clients have included Harper Collins, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, the New York Times, Land End, and MTV, among others, was not amused.
Here is the exchange:
Showtime emailed Cassaro:
“We are reaching out on behalf of Showtime because we are looking for artists with an eclectic style to create a piece focused on the upcoming fight Mayweather/Maidan 2:Mayhem….WE explored your work and are digging your style….What do you think? Let us know if you have any Q’s and feel free to share with your peers.”
Cassaro did just that–over Twitter.
“Thanks for your thinking of me for this! Glad you are digging my style!
It is with great sadness that I must decline your enticing offer to work for you for free. I know that boxing matches in Las Vegas are extremely low-budget affairs, especially ones with nobodies like Floyd “Money” Mayweather. I heard he only pulled in 80 million for his last fight! I also understand that “mom and pop” cable channel like Showtime must rely on handouts just to keep the lights on these days. Thanks a lot, Obama! My only hope is that you can scrape up a few dollars from this grassroots event at the MGM Grand to put yourself back in the black. If that happens you might consider using some of that money to compensate people to doing the thing they are professionally trained to do.
Showtime also has released a contest campaign to get free artwork to promote their multi-million dollar boxing event:
“GET READY FOR MAYWEATHER VS. MAIDANA 2 MAYHEM
CALLING ALL ARTISTS
You could be eligible for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas and have your artwork displayed in the MGM Grand during fight week! submit your original #MayhemArt today! We are accepting entries through August 26. Click on the artist information tab for more details”
After Cassaro tweeted the exchange, showtime was inundated from outraged artists and a Showtime spokesperson responded:
“SHOWTIME is a strong supporter of artists around the world. This contest, like many others, is entirely optional. Under the contest guidelines, those who choose to submit their art are eligible for a grand prize of a Las Vegas trip, in addition to invaluable national exposure across multiple platforms.”
Cassero had this to say:
“The whole thing is just unethical. You would never cold call a bunch of licensed electricians and ask them to do the lighting for an event like this for free. You certainly wouldn’t ask them to hashtag their ‘submission’ on Twitter to drive traffic to your website. To call it a contest is a bit insulting. A contest is guessing how many jellybeans are in the jar so you can win all the jellybeans. … To participate in a contest like this as a working professional devalues the work of everyone.”
Kudos to Dan Cassaro for standing up for artists, writers, photographers, journalists, musicians and all others in the creative arts who are being bankrupted by clueless for profit corporations who think they can increase their profit margin by using the product produced that they sell by eliminating paying those who actually make the product.