Fran Drescher, star of “The Nanny” and owner of one of the most distinctive voices in Hollywood, now has a distinctive
story to go with it. According to The Huffington Post, the actress said that both she and her ex-husband saw aliens as children, and matching scars on their hands mark where the extraterrestrials embedded some kind of chip. (Tracking, not potato, we assume.)
It’s hard to read this story without wondering if The Huffington Post is using it as a test run for a possible Onion-like publication, or if Drescher is putting them on — she is a comic actress, after all — but writer Rob Shuter says Drescher told him the story “in all seriousness.”
The Huffington Post headline says Drescher was “abducted” by aliens, but in the quotes from her, the actress only says she “saw” them. But when discussing the fact that she and her husband both have a scar in similar places on their hands, she seems to hint that she was not only abducted, but implanted with the chip.
Matthew Modine is running for president of SAG-AFTRA again as the leader of Membership First, the union’s opposition party. Joely Fisher, a former national board member, is running for secretary treasurer as his running mate.
Modine was defeated for the presidency by Gabrielle Carteris in a highly contentious election in 2019. In that race, Carteris received 13,537 votes to Modine’s 10,683, with a third candidate, former SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer Jane Austin, receiving 5,048 votes. Only 21.2% of the union’s eligible members cast ballots last time.
“The union spends exorbitant amounts of our own members’ money attempting to convince us that our contracts have been successfully negotiated,” Modine said. “The truth is they fall far short of the economic conditions facing performers today. I’m running to ensure that each of the locals across the United States are truthfully and transparently represented.
Ask members if they think their wages are higher, pensions stronger, and contracts better — after the so-called “merger”? Looking past the self-congratulatory propaganda of the Carteris dominated board and obedient staff, you’ll find most members now know the truth.
The former SAG general counsel joined the guild in 2009 as national executive director and guided it through a merger with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists in March 2012. Two previous attempts at the merger had been unsuccessful and plagued by infighting.
White served as SAG-AFTRA’s lead negotiator in contract talks with the major studios that last year resulted in wage increases and improvements in residuals from streaming services. The union estimated the value of the three-year contract covering motion pictures, scripted prime-time dramatic television and new media production at $318 million.
In 2019, SAG-AFTRA struck its first deal with Netflix to further protect members whose work is increasingly channeled through the streaming platform.
Earlier this year, the union developed agreements for new media sectors to cover the growing influencer industry.
During his tenure, SAG-AFTRA developed technology capabilities that included direct deposits for member residual payments; a sexual harassment reporting platform; and an online portal launching in late 2021 that will streamline the process for signing independent producers.
Along with Carteris, White led the union’s four-year effort to combat sexual harassment in the industry and was a key author of its 2018 sexual harassment code of conduct, prohibiting unaccompanied auditions in private hotel rooms and residences. The code also included standards for intimacy coordinators.
The union also credited White with bolstering its general fund, which had been depleted before he assumed operational leadership, and helping it weather the economic effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
from Dave Robb at DEADLINE
Casting professionals who are also actors have been banned from running for elected office at SAG-AFTRA. The ruling came down today at a meeting of the union’s national board of directors. Deemed “management,” casting professionals are now also barred from serving as members of SAG-AFTRA negotiating committees, and as delegates to the union’s biennial conventions.
The ban, which came to the board as a referral from the 2019 convention, applies to anyone “who regularly works as a Casting Professional, including but not limited to Casting Directors, Casting Supervisors, Casting Associates, Casting Session Directors and Casting Assistants,” according to the resolution approved by the board. Casting professionals can still be members, but they can’t run for office. Local and national elections will be held across the country later this year.
“Casting professionals, as hiring agents working on behalf of employers, act in an ongoing manner in the interests of employers, rather than in the interests of members of the union,” the resolution states.
The SAG-AFTRA Constitution already prohibits management personnel from holding office, and casting professionals have now been added to that list. The Constitution says that any member “who is primarily employed as management or primarily performs the functions of management in the Union’s jurisdiction shall be eligible to serve as a National Officer, a member of the National Board, Local Board, a Wages and Working Conditions Committee, a Negotiating Committee or as a delegate to the Convention. The term ‘management’ shall be defined as anyone who acts primarily and continually in the interests of an employer or employers rather than in the interests of the members of the Union.”
The Constitution, however, expressly exempts several job categories that have considerable say in the hiring process, including stunt coordinators, singer contractors, ADR coordinators, choreographers and assistant choreographers.
“I can’t imagine this will be received well by the Casting Society of America, Commercial Casting Directors Association, and Session Directors Association,” said an opponent of the new rule. “Not only are many of them members, but their family members often work with them in casting, and their assistants and associates are often members as well, all of whom are now banned. Casting Directors, but certainly associates, assistants, and session directors, do not have any direct control over who gets hired, unlike stunt coordinators, choreographers, vocal contractors, and ADR coordinators, all of whom either directly hire our members or have great influence and input in who gets hired.”
If someone claimed severe trauma after decades of falling down stairs, getting into car crashes, getting dropped to the floor head first, and leaping from rigged explosions, one would tend to believe that person. Yet the Screen Actors Guild Pension and Health Plan believes that Leslie Hoffman, a retired Hollywood stuntwoman who did these things and more, has no right to make such a claim. Trustees of the plan, in fact, have spent over a decade in court for the purpose of blocking her attempt to receive benefits. But a U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit now has told the Plan that the charade is over. On March 18, a three-judge panel ruled that Ms. Hoffman, who hasn’t done any stunts in nearly 20 years and who has been diagnosed multiple times with traumatic brain injury, deserves full compensation. The court, unfortunately, has remanded the case to a lower court – and not for the first time.
Union Corruption Update has described this saga twice, in 2015 and in 2018. The situation appears no closer to resolution after 11 years. Leslie Hoffman, a native of Saranac Lake, N.Y., had performed stunts for movies and television shows for at least 25 years before retiring in 2002. She took a pummeling in the process. In 2003 she was admitted for psychiatric treatment on three separate occasions and was diagnosed with “severe major depression.” The following year she was awarded disability benefits from the Social Security Administration, which had determined Hoffman had suffered “severe” and “degenerative” back injury. Her personal physician, Dr. Jeffrey Salberg eventually diagnosed her as having “traumatic brain injury” and “severe back, neck, knee and shoulder injuries…due to continuous traumas throughout her stunt career.”
Hoffman also was a longtime dues-paying member of the Screen Actors Guild. Indeed, for a while she had served on the SAG’s board of directors for a while, and later on the board of directors of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), prior to the merger of the two unions in 2012. One would think that the SAG-AFTRA Pension and Health Plan, which is legally separate from the union, would have approved her request for occupational disability payments. But Plan administrators rejected the request in 2004, authorizing only limited coverage for psychiatric depression. Five years later, she appealed to Plan administrators to convert her status to “occupational disability.” The union once again rejected her request.