Michael Foster (agent)

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Michael Foster
Michael Adam Foster

March 1958
United Kingdom
OccupationTalent agent
Years active1982–2013

Michael Adam Foster (born March 1958)[1] is a British former talent agent and politician. He was Chris Evans' agent and has run several talent agencies. He was a Labour donor and Parliamentary candidate, but he left the party after a series of disputes with leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Early life[edit]

Foster is Jewish;[2] his grandfather was in the Dachau concentration camp, but was released when he gave up his factories and he moved to Palestine.[3] Twenty-one of his relatives were murdered in the Holocaust.[4] Foster's father, Walter Foster (born Fast), was born in Vienna in 1923 and arrived in London as a refugee following Kristallnacht. Walter later ran the Anglo-Austrian Society until 1992 and died in December 2009. Foster's mother Rachel Ginsburg helped draft the Children Act 1948. They met at the London School of Economics and married in 1949.[5][3] Foster has two brothers and a sister.[3]

Foster studied PPE at New College, Oxford.[6][7]


Foster became an agent in 1982.[7] As co-chair of International Creative Management in London from 1986 to December 1997,[6] Foster was agent for TV and radio presenter Chris Evans[8] and actors Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant, among others.[9] Foster then became managing director of Television at Evans' Ginger Media Group.[6] Foster became CEO of Evans' Ginger TV in January 1998, then left suddenly in September 1998 (receiving £1.1 million,[10] reported by Broadcast as an acrimonious departure)[8] to become a drama producer.[11] Foster was recruited by Waheed Alli, the managing director of Carlton Productions (part of Carlton Communications), to become managing director of content in August 1999.[8] He left Carlton in February 2001.[10][12] After Evans left Virgin Radio (which Foster co-owned)[13] in 2001, Evans founded a TV production company, UMTV with Foster and Chris Gillet.[14] Foster also founded Artists Rights Group with Sue Latimer in May 2001, becoming the agent for Ross Kemp, Evans, and Evans' then wife Billie Piper.[6][10] At ARG he was also the agent for Trinny and Susannah.[15] Foster was No. 99 in The Guardian's media Top 100 in 2003[9] and No. 68 in 2011.[13] All3Media bought ARG in March 2006 and Foster left in February 2008, buying out his part of ARG and founding his own talent agency MF Management.[15] In May 2010, Foster merged his three-person business MF Management with PFD, the business of his friend, literary agent Caroline Michel,[16] to form The Rights House, with Foster and Michel as the senior partners and Foster holding a controlling stake.[17][18] PFD was headed by Matthew Freud, who had invested in MF Management.[19] Among his clients at Rights House was Sacha Baron Cohen.[20]

In 2013, Foster sold his stakes in his companies The Rights House and PFD[21] when he decided to stop being an agent.[22] He also previously had a stake in production company Carnival Films.[23]


In September 2012, Foster founded a charity, Creative Access, with Josie Dobrin to help ethnic minorities into internships,[21] working with recruitment companies SEO London and New Deal of the Mind.[24] It was initially funded by Foster and other private donors included Richard Desmond. The first intern worked on the film Kick Ass 2.[24] It placed over 700 interns, but lost its government funding in December 2016.[25] Foster also does work for the Wish Centre, a self-harm and violence charity for young people in Harrow and Merton.[5]


Foster joined the Labour Party in 1974[21][5] and from 2010 to 2015 donated over £400,000 to the party.[4]

He was selected in January 2014 to be the Labour candidate for Camborne and Redruth at the 2015 general election,[21] on a platform of creating jobs in Cornwall.[26] He donated over £100,000 to his local party during the campaign. His election agent was Jude Robinson.[27] He was endorsed by his celebrity clients Hugh Grant,[28] Ross Kemp,[27] and Alan Davies.[29] After being selected, Foster tossed his phone across a table during the filming of Sunday Politics, hitting Conservative MP Sheryll Murray in the wrist; he apologised and said it was not deliberate.[30][31] His Mebyon Kernow opponent Loveday Jenkin accused Foster of threatening her at a hustings, which he said was untrue.[32] Foster increased the Labour vote, but the Conservative candidate won the seat by 7000 votes.[22]

After Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership in 2015, Foster heckled him at a Labour Friends of Israel event that September for not saying "Israel" in his speech.[23][4] In April 2016, Foster withdrew funding from the central Labour Party due to what he perceived to be an increase in antisemitism in the party.[2] He sued in July 2016 to try to stop Corbyn being on the ballot in the 2016 leadership election after Labour's NEC ruled that as the incumbent Corbyn did not need to be nominated to be a candidate, but High Court Judge David Foskett ruled that Corbyn could stand;[23] Corbyn called the case a "waste of time and resources".[33] Foster was suspended from Labour in September 2016 after he called supporters of Corbyn "Sturm Abteilung (stormtroopers)" in an article in the Mail on Sunday.[23][34][35] After he left the party, Foster said in The Sunday Times he would stand against Corbyn if Labour did poorly in the May local elections and Corbyn did not resign.[36][37] He subsequently stood against Corbyn in the June 2017 general election in Islington North,[38] with the slogan "Labour for the Common Good".[39] He obtained 0.4% of the vote, while Corbyn was re-elected with a greatly increased majority and 73% of the vote.[40] A few days after the election, Foster wrote that he had been wrong about Corbyn's leadership.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Foster moved to Cornwall in around 2005[21] and lived in a second home in Porth Navas.[32] He has four daughters.[7]

Haaretz reported "He is known for his fiery temper and angry outbursts."[23] He has said when he was an agent he broke his finger by tapping on a table to make a point, and saw a psychiatrist, Steve Peters, to help with his temper.[27]


  1. ^ "Michael Adam Foster". Companies House. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Julian, Hana Levi (10 April 2016). "Jewish Labour Donor: 'Not One Pound to Central Party'". The Jewish Press. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Walter Foster: Champion of Anglo-Austrian friendship". The Independent. 1 January 2010. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Dysch, Marcus (1 October 2015). "Labour donor explains why he heckled Jeremy Corbyn at Israel event". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Hill, Dave (15 May 2017). "On the knocker with Michael Foster, the ex-Labour donor who says he'll beat Jeremy Corbyn in his own backyard". onlondon.co.uk. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "Michael Foster". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Foster, Michael (8 March 2016). "Time someone else had a go". British Journalism Review. 27 (1): 43–47. doi:10.1177/0956474816636821.
  8. ^ a b c Deans, Jason (13 August 1999). "Carlton signs Foster to boost production". Broadcast. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  9. ^ a b "99: Michael Foster". The Guardian. 7 July 2003. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Deans, Jason (29 May 2001). "Foster and Latimer join forces to found talent agency". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  11. ^ Wood, David (26 March 1999). "Model silence". Broadcast. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  12. ^ Milmo, Dan; Deans, Jason (22 February 2001). "Foster quits Carlton". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b "68: Michael Foster". The Guardian. 24 July 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Return of the Ginger man". The Guardian. 25 August 2002. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ a b Tryhorn, Chris (11 February 2008). "Talent agent Foster exits All3Media". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  16. ^ Walker, Tim (19 May 2010). "Literary agents Caroline Michel and Michael Foster marry businesses". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  17. ^ Morris, Brian (18 May 2010). "Matthew Freud takes over literary agency". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  18. ^ "Showbusiness merger for top literary agency". London Evening Standard. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  19. ^ Adler, Tim (20 May 2010). "Freud Talent Agency Starts Wooing Agents". Deadline. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  20. ^ Plunkett, John (2013). "Michael Foster sells controlling stake in the Rights House media agency". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  21. ^ a b c d e Wiseman, Andreas (14 January 2015). "Michael Foster readies MP battle". Screen Daily. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  22. ^ a b Collins, Jem (12 September 2016). "What Labour donor Michael Foster's LinkedIn profile would look like". inews. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  23. ^ a b c d e Zur, Yakir (27 August 2016). "The Jewish Millionaire Trying to Oust Labour's Jeremy Corbyn". Haaretz. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  24. ^ a b Plunkett, John (2012). "Celebrity agent seeks government cash to support ethnic minorities". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  25. ^ Khomami, Nadia (14 December 2016). "Charity helping ethnic minority interns loses government funding". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  26. ^ "'Entertainment and media entrepreneur' selected as Labour candidate for Redruth and Camborne seat". Falmouth Packet. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  27. ^ a b c Lusher, Adam (30 April 2015). "General Election 2015: Can top showbiz agent turned Labour candidate Michael Foster keep his cool on the campaign trail?". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  28. ^ "Hugh Grant gives the naked truth about Labour candidate". Media Monkey Blog. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Comedian Alan Davies speaks out in support of Camborne and Redruth election candidate". This is the West Country. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  30. ^ "MP shaken after being hit by mobile phone during filming of politics show in Plymouth". Plymouth Herald. 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  31. ^ "Mobile phone tossed at MP in BBC television studio". BBC News. 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Labour candidate denies using four letter hustings insult". Falmouth Packet. 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  33. ^ "Labour leadership: Corbyn ballot challenge rejected". BBC News. 28 July 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  34. ^ Sands, Mark (11 September 2016). "Labour donor Michael Foster has been suspended from the party for likening Corbyn backers to stormtroopers". City A.M. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  35. ^ "Suspended Labour donor Michael Foster 'victim of purge'". BBC News. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  36. ^ "Labour donor pledges to stand against Corbyn in general election". The Guardian. 30 April 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  37. ^ Roberts, Rachel (30 April 2017). "Major Labour donor threatens to stand against Jeremy Corbyn in general election unless he quits as leader". The Independent. Archived from the original on 12 May 2022. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  38. ^ "Michael Foster's Islington 'doorstep challenge'". The Jewish Chronicle. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  39. ^ Foster, Michael (May 2017). "Labour for the Common Good". Retrieved 7 June 2017.
  40. ^ "Islington North". BBC News.
  41. ^ "Opinion – Michael Foster: Why I was wrong on Corbyn". Jewish News. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2017.

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