Terrence Howard Speaks Out About CAA Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 08: Terrence Howard announces lawsuit against CAA over "Empire" salary at The Cochran Firm on December 08, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Terrence Howard has recently shed light on his legal battle against the renowned Hollywood agency CAA. He contends that he was unfairly compensated during his time on the hit Fox series “Empire.”Now, he is seeking justice through litigation.

In a revealing interview on the podcast Straight Talk with Daphne Phaneē, Howard discussed his grievances. He emphasized the stark pay disparities between himself and his “white counterparts” from the network. He said he was low-balled by CAA throughout all six seasons of “Empire.”

“[CAA] represented me, they also represented some of the people from Big Bang Theory,” Howard shared on Straight Talk. “We had 28 million viewers, [Big Bang] had 11 million viewers. [The Big Bang cast] was getting $2 million, damn near $3 million an episode. Those white kids, they had no name recognition, no Oscar nominations, none of that.”

At the heart of Howard’s legal battle lies the issue of packaging. This is a practice where studios pay agencies directly for attaching other clients to a project. He alleges that his agents at CAA exploited him in this process, providing misleading pay comparisons whenever he questioned his compensation for the show.

“We have 28 million viewers and these jokers are paying me $325,000 an episode,” Howard lamented. “Every year I’m asking my agents what’s going on, what’s going on. I didn’t know that [with] the packaging deal, my agents were incentivized to keep my pay low.”

Terrence Howard’s Allegations and Retaliation

Furthermore, Howard disclosed receiving a check that he interpreted as a veiled threat from CAA. “When I asked them about it, about my money, they sent me a check for $666 exactly, not saying where it’s from,” he revealed. This incident fueled his resolve to confront the systemic inequalities pervasive in the entertainment industry.

In response to inquiries, CAA declined to comment on the matter.

Beyond his legal dispute with CAA, Howard faces the daunting challenge of settling a tax debt nearing $1 million, accumulated between 2010 and 2019. Denying the allegations, Howard voiced his discontent in a voicemail purportedly left for Justice Department lawyer Maria Elizabeth Ruwe, asserting a broader narrative of systemic injustice.

“Four hundred years of forced labor and never receiving any compensation for it,” Howard expressed in the voicemail. “Now you have the gall to try and prosecute and charge taxes to the descendants of a broken people that you are responsible for causing the breakage.”