Report: #350638

Complaint Review: The P.R. Group--Eddie Winkler

  • Submitted: Sun, July 13, 2008
  • Updated: Sun, February 06, 2011
  • Reported By: San Jose California
  • The P.R. Group--Eddie Winkler
    Los Gatos, California, Internet

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My daughter and I were approached in a retail store. I know it's a scam. I reported them to the management. It only gets hopes up only to be dashed into disappointment, or to have parents actually fall for the scam of signing up for acting lessons or conventions. The list was exactly the same as previous poster, the scripts were the same, but the name of the "company" was The P.R. Group. No other information given. Eddie Winkler, a "famous" talent scout is supposed to be there at the "free screen test" to see your child and "greet" the family.

San Jose, California
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/13/2008 12:31 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 Consumer Comment

Mom and Advocate in Beverly Hills????

AUTHOR: carol simpson - (United States of America)

First of all, to call yourself a mom and advocate is kind of hilarious considering you are in fact a disgruntled ex co worker of Mr. Winklers posing as a mom and advocate in Beverly HIlls. You should live so long to actually reside in that zip code.  Please do your homework if you want to actually appear as reputable.  Here is the link to Chad Michael Murrays IMDB bio which gives Mr. Winkler the credit for discovering him.

Your personal vendetta is quite tiresome.  Have a good day Deb!
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#2 Consumer Comment

Eddie Winkler is a JRP regular

AUTHOR: Mom And Advocate - (U.S.A.)

It is true that Eddie Winkler is a legitimate agent in Los Angeles. I have been around long enough to have seen the beginning of his career, including his tenure at Buchwald as an assistant, then a commerial agent, and his work at ACME as a commercial agent. He was appointed as ACME's head of the kids' division a couple of years ago because he was the only employee left in the kids' division. Still, he remained the commercial agent in this small starter agency for children. The biographies I have seen printed about him are a whole lot of spin. Fiction can be fun I guess.

He is NOT a theatrical (television/film) agent, so it would be very hard for him to have any real power in the industry, or to "launch' anyone's career. It does not appear that he has ever negotiated a theatrical deal. Get real...a kid's commercial agent at a C-list agency having power? It just doesn't happen that way. That agency also does not have a print division. So if you were intended to go into modeling, he won't be able to help with that either.

He is a low level commerical agent. Nothing more.

I find no evidence that he "discovered" Ashley Tisdale or Chad Michael Murray (lots of people claim that "discovery" btw), he does not currently represent them, and hasn't for years if he ever did. Moises Arias is a client of ACME, but I don't see him doing alot of commercials, so I doubt Mr. Winkler is producing work for him.

What I CAN easily find is Mr. Winkler has a side career of going to John Robert
Powers (just google "John Robert Powers scam" and see how many thousands of hits you get...there are 120 on this site alone), Academy of Cinema and Television, Be Productions and pretty much every scummy talent competition (like IMTA, iPOP, Casting Fusion and all the others) there is.

This weekend he attended a new "conference" in TX called Casting Fusion. It is run by Benay Sinaikin and others who were most recently notorious for stealing MILLIONS from parents in the Pacific Modeling and Acting scheme in May 2008 and from JRP in the Bay Area in March 2008. This was all over the news, and the feds are investigating. But Mr. Winkler apparently didn't see a problem with these people...he ran right over to be a part of their newest scam, Casting Fusion.

The mall kiosk in San Jose he original poster mentioned is one of two things. JRP, or more likely, since PR Group was mentioned, that equals Be Productions, another scam, run by former LA Talent agent Erik DeSando. It isn't pretty. See Ripoff Reports for them too.

To the poster from IMTA...oh, please. You already paid the big bucks. You were at IMTA because you went to a franchised school, which are well-known as scams. IMTA only takes people from Barbizon, John Casablancas, and the "independent' schools, which are simply JRP clones that no longer use the JRP name because it is mudd. So Mr. Winkler's presence at IMTA does not mean he is legit. Far from it. You already paid thousands to be there...and Mr. Winkler was the bait.

The scam schools use the names of the agents that visit them. Mr. Winkler is out on the weekends, getting paid hundreds and thousands $$$, cash under the table, to lend his names to these scams. He isn't looking for new talent. Come now. If he was a respected agent, they wouldn't be taking on kids from out of state, with no experience, as a result of a 2 minute interview???

This is all about the bait and switch. And Mr. Winkler is the willing bait.

Respected agents simply don't do that. Respected agents have plenty of income from their working clients (they get paid on commission...10%), and they are far too busy working for their current clients to travel around the country. The only agents that visit schools and competitions are those who aren't making enough at their day job. He is making more cash helping to rip people off than he is from being a real agent.

To his lifelong friend...don't threaten people with Eddie's "power". That is funny. If you really want to support him, you may want to share with him that his name is mud, and he needs to take responsibility for his actions. His involvement with scams will be made public, and even now people know. That is why ACME can't sign an established child star. Nobody will go near an agent who moonlights ripping people off.

He might also want to check his legal insurance...the feds will be investigating, and the class action lawsuits will name him. He is a co-conspirator in a very big scam and he is in bed with some interesting people. Oh yes, and his agency license prevents him from advertising, and from being involved in Advanced Fee Talent he might want to ask Adam, the owner of ACME, if he is OK with his weekend activities. Eddie might want to develop a conscience.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Eddie Winkler at International Model search in NYC

AUTHOR: Karensim - (U.S.A.)

I just returned from IMTA in New York where I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Winkler. He was at the convention scouting talent for the ACME agency in LA.

He is very well known for finding undiscovered talent. I assure all of you he is the real deal his recent discovery of Moises Arias who is a lead actor in the Hannah Montana series made getting to see him all the more difficult at the convention. From what I understand he only took about 20 from the thousands he saw over the course of the convention. I can assure you he was a consumate professional and very charismatic. There are no hidden fees with his agency and he is very discerning about who he calls back. The person at the mall probably doesnt even know Mr. Winkler. They were just using his name to add legitimacy to their approach. Ironically, you didn't know who he was so I guess it did not impress you.

Anyone truly wanting to make it in the business is encouraged to relocate to Los Angeles so you have to be serious about it and have serious talent. I'm sure the hundreds of people who stood in line waiting for 5 minutes of Mr. WInklers time would agree that he doesnt frequent shopping malls searching for wannabes, they come to him.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Responding to Comments on Mr. Winkler

AUTHOR: Donnamcc - (U.S.A.)

First of all after knowing Mr. Winkler all of his life I take great exception to your personal attack on him. He has been instrumental in starting the careers of many famous people including Chad Michael Murray and Ashley Tisdale. ACME is a legitimate union agency firmly established and respected in Los Angeles. You need to do your homework.

There are unreputable people who pounce on people at shopping malls but in this case if Mr. WInkler is a part of it you missed a chance for your child to enter the industry. He does occassionally attend acting showcases all over the nation looking for talent. These showcases are a wonderful way for young people who truly have talent to be discovered. I have forwarded your posting to the executive offices of ACME for their consideration. You must be very careful in attacking an individual, especially one with supreme power in the industry. I hope in the future you make the appropriate calls and check before going off on a tirade.
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#5 Consumer Comment

You obviously didn't go to the screen test...

AUTHOR: Zzbug89 - (U.S.A.)

I was quite surprised when I went to the screen test and they didn't try to sign us up for classes or pay any fees. They suggested that if the child work in entertainment they get a work permit and a special trust account (which costs about $25 to open), but both of those are just required by the state. No extra fees. You would know that if you had actually gone to the screen test, not everything is a scam.
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