A leading Hollywood agent has reportedly added to criticism of the Duchess of Sussex after her Spotify podcast deal was axed – describing her as not “necessarily any kind of talent”.
United Talent Agency (UTA) chief executive Jeremy Zimmer made the comments about Meghan during a discussion on podcasting at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France, according to a report by the Semafor news website.
It comes after Spotify executive Bill Simmons, founder of the Ringer podcast network that was bought by the streaming service, labelled Meghan and Prince Harry “f****** grifters” following the announcement they were being dropped for reportedly not creating enough content.
Meghan’s podcast Archetypes, which aimed to “investigate, dissect, and subvert the labels that try to hold women back”, featured guests including Paris Hilton, Mindy Kaling, Mariah Carey and Serena Williams.
However, only 12 episodes were made following the signing of the 2020 deal, reported to be worth $20m (£15m).
“Turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent,” Mr Zimmer was quoted as saying by Semafor. “And, you know, just because you’re famous doesn’t make you great at something.”
UTA has represented stars including Harrison Ford, Paris Hilton, Michael Douglas, Michaela Coel, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul Rudd, Lizzo, Benedict Cumberbatch and Susan Sarandon.
Semafor media reporter Max Tani gave his opinion on Zimmer’s comments in his article, saying they “reflect the new conventional wisdom in podcasting” – that “A-list celebrities and big-budget audio narratives” are out, while “new audio talent is endemic to the medium, and has more in common with talk radio or daytime television personalities than with Windsors”.
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The duchess’s podcast was dropped earlier this month. In a joint statement from Harry and Meghan’s Archewell media company and Spotify, the companies announced they had “mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together”, according to the New York Post.
“Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform,” an Archewell Productions spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal.
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Along with Spotify, Harry and Meghan also signed deals with Netflix, which released an eponymous documentary series about them last year, and Penguin Random House, the publisher of the prince’s controversial memoir, Spare.
Sky News has contacted Archewell and UTA for comment.