PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Disney is reacting following a KDKA Investigation into a talent scouting event for kids.
It was called “The Event.” More than 1,000 people attended at The Wyndham Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh last weekend.
Disney was mentioned five times in the promotion of the event on local radio stations last week.
Now, Disney says, “We do not have an affiliation with that organization.” Disney also says they have lawyers looking into the matter.
One local talent recruiter says professional agencies operate in a different manner.
Deb Docherty, who runs a talent agency, in Pittsburgh says, “We’re licensed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We work hard at what we do. We work on commissions only. We don’t make any money until we get the talent money.”
KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin brought his children to “The Event” last weekend. Hundreds of people who made appointments also attended.
Many of the parents were called back the next day and told participation in “The Event” could cost thousands of dollars.
One man was asked to pay nearly $2,000. A Pittsburgh woman was told the program would cost nearly $8,000.
“I say put it in the bank. That’s what you should do with your money – not spend it on modeling classes or scams,” said Docherty.
Organizers of the event say everything is above board. Organizers say they don’t promise anyone anything. Organizers also say they have no affiliation with Disney.
Still, people like Allison Kennedy, who brought her 9-year-old daughter to the event left disappointed.
“She’s our child that does it all,” she said. “When we got up there and I started reading it and realized that it’s more where you’re going to pay to go into competition, it’s not what we were looking for.”
“The Event” organizers say it’s a family-friendly competition for the performing arts held at various Walt Disney World Resorts. “The Event” organizers say they are not an agency, casting company or management firm.
Meantime, several KDKA-TV viewers say they will be filing complaints with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.