McConaughey's University Speech Creates Brouhaha
University finally reveals his paycheck, but who's mysterious booking agent?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2015 9:59 AM CDT
Actor Matthew McConaughey poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film Interstellar, in central London, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014.   (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Matthew McConaughey will speak at the University of Houston's commencement ceremony next month, a fact that is more controversial than you might imagine. And not because McConaughey is, say, underqualified for the job, but because the university refused, for more than a month, to tell the Houston Chronicle how much it would be paying the actor. But the paper finally got an answer: $135,000, which McConaughey will donate to a McConaughey-founded charity that aims to help high school students. The convoluted details of the brouhaha:

  • UH first refused to give specifics because of a confidentiality clause in its agreement with the booking agency; that booking agency then fought the newspaper's FOIA request because the revelation might lead to "unfair negatives online."

  • The attorney general hasn't ruled on the case yet, but the university revealed the fee yesterday because, it explained, it has "concluded its business" with the agency and thus is no longer bound by the agreement. The university also said it will pay for the actor's travel costs and will pay the booking agency 15% of his fee.
  • But, the Houston Press points out, it's not really clear how the aforementioned booking agency—Celebrity Talent International, founded by a Carlsbad, Calif., man that paper calls "a mysterious, self-proclaimed booking agent" named Glenn Richardson—is even involved with the whole matter, or connected to McConaughey.
  • The actor's photo and suggested fees were listed on CTI's "talent library" until last week, when they were removed, and a UH spokesperson says that "neither CTI nor Richardson represent McConaughey in any capacity" but that UH "engaged the services of CTI to help identify and connect with an appropriate Commencement speaker and to assist with the logistics of finalizing a contract."
  • As for Richardson, he's not explaining anything; nor is McConaughey's talent agency, CAA. But McConaughey's publicist says the actor "has never met, heard of, spoken to, or worked with anyone named" Glenn Richardson—so it's not clear how exactly Richardson managed to walk away with a $20,250 commission.