Meghan Markle
The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle Chris Jackson/Getty Images/IBTimes

United Talent Agency (UTA) CEO Jeremy Zimmer recently called Meghan Markle untalented. But his criticism may have reportedly been triggered by his company's failed attempt to sign the royal.

A report from Page Six cited industry insiders who clapped back at Zimmer and alleged that he could just be sourgraping over his agency's failure. One source told the publication, "So then why did Jeremy have multiple agents trying to sign Meghan? They were in serious pursuit."

The insider added that one of UTA's agents "was recently actively pursuing her." But another source familiar with the situation denied that the Duchess of Sussex met or spoke with these agents. Representatives for both the royal and the talent agency are also yet to comment on this report.

Zimmer delivered some harsh words about the former "Suits" star during last week's 2023 Cannes Lions advertising festival at La Majestic. He said, "Turns out Meghan Markle was not a great audio talent, or necessarily any kind of talent. And, you know, just because you're famous doesn't make you great at something."

His criticism of the duchess was met with backlash by others in the industry. One A-list talent manager who asked to remain anonymous called it "mind-blowing" telling Variety, "As an agent, you never publicly discuss your own talent or anyone else's."

Another top agent from a UTA rival called Zimmer's diss of Meghan Markle "a shocking display of bad taste" and questioned, "Who wants to sign with someone who trashes people like that in public?"

One more top dealmaker chimed in, "I don't care who it is, decorum is decorum. I feel for the staff." Meanwhile, three agents from UTA admitted that they were "embarrassed" by Zimmer's behaviour.

Another agent warily referred to the agency's Instagram post on Monday about its client Randall Park's commencement address at UCLA regarding disappointment. Zimmer reportedly fielded relentless questions about Meghan Markle and Spotify during his interview at the festival.

UTA represents several high-profile names including Harrison Ford, Ryan Seacrest, Wes Anderson, DJ Khaled, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas ( who happens to be a friend of the Duchess of Sussex and attended her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.)

Zimmer's criticism of Meghan Markle pertains to her parting ways with Spotify, three years after she signed an exclusive multimillion deal to produce original content under her and Prince Harry's Archewell Audio company. The company was only able to release two contents: a holiday special and the 12-episode "Archetypes" podcast released in August 2022 which the duchess hosted.

Both parties "mutually agreed" to end their partnership and there are talks that Meghan Markle is on the hunt for a new platform for her podcast. She eventually signed with UTA's rival company WME in April to help with her pursuits. The talent agency hinted there will be more to come from Archewell Audio in an announcement that read, "...The Duchess of Sussex is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform."

Brad Slater, who represents Dwayne Johnson, and long-time Serena Williams agent Jill Smoller serve as the duchess' day-to-day agents. But Endeavor CEO Ari Emmanuel is said to also be "hands-on" with her new projects and checks up on her on a daily basis. Variety called her a "crown jewel" for WME as "numerous rivals" have tried to get the duchess since she and Prince Harry moved to California in 2020.

WME will represent Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's content creation companies Archewell Audio and Archewell Productions. In a statement, the agency said that "it will also be focusing on building out her business ventures across multiple facets of the agency & its broader ecosystem, including film & television production, brand partnerships & more."