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Hollywood Star-Maker Accused Of Sexual Harassment Closes Talent Agency

The talent manager who helped make Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson Hollywood stars says he will close his management agency after nine women of color accused him of sexual harassment.

Vincent Cirrincione, 70, the principal of Vincent Cirrincione Associates VCA, announced the move in a statement published in the Washington Post.

"It is with incredibly great sadness that at this time that I believe it's in the best interest of all my actors and actresses that I represent to close my management company. This business is hard enough and I don't want to distract in any way from their careers or opportunities in the entertainment field. I wish all my clients the very best in all their endeavors."

The Post first reported the allegations against Cirrincione late last week. Eight African-American women and one Asian woman said that Cirrincione had portrayed himself as a champion of young women of color in Hollywood but was instead a predator who asked for sex in exchange for his representing them.

In a statement, Cirrincione acknowledges seeking sex, but he denies linking such relationships with his work guiding women of color through Hollywood.

"I have had affairs while in committed relationships, ones I am now ashamed to say are coming to light and shading my past and my reputation. I can say without a doubt that I have never used favors, sexual or otherwise, as a reason for managing anyone. I want to make it clear that not one of those relationships were anything but consensual.

"I take responsibility for my part in the situation and I am not here to diminish anyone's feelings or experiences. I apologize to these women, my past and present partner, my clients and employees for the pain this is bringing them. I was under the impression I was living my life as a supportive man to women. It is with a heavy heart that I see now I was wrong."

One of the actresses who spoke with the Post but asked to remain anonymous said Cirrincione pointed to the successful careers of Berry and Henson as examples of what he could do for her — but at a price, she alleged.

As news of the allegations spread, both actresses denounced Cirrincione.

In an Instagram post, Berry said:

"Yesterday I was saddened by the allegations against my former manager, Vincent Cirrincione, but today I'm sick after reading the horrifying detailed accounts of his abuse towards 9 women.

"I'm livid that he used me, and the role model he helped me to become, to lure and manipulate innocent, vulnerable women of color for his predatory actions."

For her part, Henson posted her reaction on Instagram:

"I feel saddened, disappointed and ashamed. The news about my Manager Vincent Cirrincione has shocked, hurt, and offended and yet again put professional women in a position to not trust the men they work with. Everyone knows how difficult this Industry has been for women and my hope is that all of these unspeakable events ignite true change in the treatment of women in this entertainment business."

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Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.