First here’s the story from Backstage West, and then we’ve got that duly deleted story by Mr. Crybaby himself, 2nd VP Paul Christie!
SAG’s Christie Charges Censorship — Lester Denies It
December 07, 2005
By Roger Armbrust
The split between the Screen Actors Guild’s Hollywood and New York leaderships appeared to widen Tuesday night when SAG New York’s president, Paul Christie, accused SAG National President Alan Rosenberg’s administration of censorship.
For a guy getting censored, he’s sure been getting a lot of press time lately.
Christie is also SAG’s 2nd national vice president. He and the other two SAG national vp’s regularly have letters to the membership in SAG’s national magazine, Screen Actor. Christie called Back Stage Tuesday night to say that Loren Lester, a Rosenberg appointee as chair of SAG’s communications committee, “unilaterally chose not to run my article” because it was critical of Rosenberg.
Uh, how can a letter that doesn’t mention Rosenberg, be critical of him. Oh, wait I get it! It was critical of him, Christie just didn’t mention his name–but “Wink! Wink!”
Lester, who Back Stage reached Tuesday night, said that he chose not to run Christie’s letter because it “had a number of very serious allegations, and we asked him to prove what he was saying. He knows some of the things are absolutely false. We asked him to change them, and he said he wouldn’t.”
Lester said he called the communications committee together to write a rebuttal that could run along with Christie’s letter, “but the New York members and branch members of the committee wouldn’t show up to write the rebuttal. So, since things he was saying were not true, I decided we wouldn’t run the letter and do a disservice to the membership.”
Gosh, does that mean we don’t get to have our membership dues money used to be called Craven and Misanthropes in our SAG Actor Magazine anymore?
Christie said his article criticized the Rosenberg administration and the earlier William Daniels administration for abusive treatment of SAG staff. Rosenberg and Daniels are both members of Membership First, Christie’s opponents who now control the majority on SAG’s national board of directors.
Lester said Christie’s letter listed SAG staff by name who had retired and Christie had “said we fired.” He also included “four people who are retiring this year after years of wonderful service. He’s saying the administration is forcing them out.” He added that Christie’s listing of staff by name could prove a legal liability for the guild, evidently meaning if the letter ran in a SAG publication.
You see, Mr. Christie ain’t all that concerned about who was fired, but who fired them. If they were fired by Netflix Bob: No problemo! Oh, by the way during Pisano’s reign a whole bunch of good staff members where fired! Nary a whimper from Christie then! In fact from 2001 to 2004, the staff was depleted by a 125 workers. Mostly rank and file staff that directly served the members. This while senior staff making a hundred grand went up from SIX to TWENTY-EIGHT! And total staff salaries nearly DOUBLED from ELEVEN MILLION TO TWENTY ONE MILLION! Anyone remember, Paul, Baby, crying to the press about that?
When Rosenberg took office and his slate took control of the board at the end of September, they fired Greg Hessinger, SAG’s national executive director, along with three executives Hessinger recently had hired. Christie was highly critical of the firings in interviews with the press, and linked the dismissals with what he considers earlier abuses of SAG senior staff that have since left the guild.
At the time of Hessinger’s firing, Christie warned that Rosenberg’s and his followers’ actions could lead to a permanent split in the guild between the Hollywood branch and the New York and other branches nationwide.
Actually the only split right now is Christie’s ever-widening BIG MOUTH!
Christie on Tuesday night e-mailed a copy of his letter to Back Stage. In it he refers to the national board rather than the Rosenberg administration, and generally complains without specifically naming Rosenberg of “a constant and distressing stream of criticism directed at our staff, particularly our senior staff, and it always seems to be coming from the same direction and the same people.”
The above paragraph tells you all you need to know about Christie and their group! They attack people without having the cajones to name them! They infer rather than come right out with what they mean! If indeed, Christie wanted to be critical of President Rosenberg why didn’t he do it without trying to be sneaky! Oh, yeah, I forgot he’s a USAN leader!
But within the volatile politics of SAG Christie didn’t have to be specific for Rosenberg or his followers to know whom he was referring to, because the SAG/NY president has been consistently critical of them in the past.
Like I said sneaky!
Christie said Tuesday night that he would file a challenge with the U.S. Department of Labor if his article were censored from the next issue of Screen Actor magazine.
My God, the way Ol’ Paul is going they’re gonna have to give him his own office over there!
Federal labor law “says I have the right to communicate with our members,” Christie said. “Any union member has the right to communicate with other members.” He said he should know within the next 48 hours whether the article would be printed. Lester said that it would not see print; he added that the issue is “going to press this week.” Christie said that if it doesn’t go into Screen Actor, he will find other outlets for the letter.
Boy, does this lad have a grasp of Labor Law! Ah, Paul, to be a tad more specific here’s what the Labor Disclosure Act of 1959 says as spelled out in Title I:
Nothing in there Paul about putting your truth-challenged rants in the SAG Actor Magazine! But here’s a thought! Paul do what the Ol’ Dog did!
GET YOUR OWN FRIKKING WEBSITE!
Actually, he can put anything he wants up on the USAN Website! The irony here, folks, is that Christie hasn’t even, as of yet, posted anything about his, Freed and Henry’s Bonehead Election Challenge to the DOL on that website. Ah, maybe they think it wouldn’t look to good right next to another of their posts where they attack Membership First for going to the DOL!
Christie, along with former SAG/NY President Eileen Henry and SAG/NY vp Sam Freed, on Dec. 2 filed a challenge with the federal Department of Labor seeking to void Rosenberg’s election. That challenge is pending.
Back Stage attempted to reach Rosenberg by calling his home and leaving a message, and also e-mailed him, but didn’t receive a response by the time of this article’s posting. A phone message was also left for Anne Marie Johnson, SAG’s 1st national vice president and a Rosenberg supporter, but she hadn’t responded by press time.
Here’s the Christie Article. As usual, The Ol’ Dog point out a few of the, ah, minor inconsistencies in Mr. Christies Article.
“When is it you?”
That is the question I have been posing recently to members of our national board. When is it time to pull out the mirror and take a cold, hard look?
In my opinion, in the past five years that I have been serving as a national board member of this union, I have seen a constant and distressing stream of criticism directed at our staff, particularly our senior staff, and it always seems to be coming from the same direction and the same people. They proclaim that staff is never good enough, and then make these dedicated, hard working men and women the target of their vitriol. These staffers, many of whom have been honorably serving this great institution for 30 and 40 years, have done nothing less than protect us to pursue our careers. They are the same staff who helped formulate things like Class A, and the residual system and negotiated all our contracts for almost half-a-century. Then out of nowhere, many of these same devoted people are described, unbelievably, as “incompetent” or worse and then fired, or we are told, “choose to retire,” or “move on.” Along the way, though, they are too often subjected to unwarranted public criticism and humiliation sometimes outright lies by our national elected officials who seek their departures.
Actually, most of those veteran staff members Paul so eloquently speaks about were FIRED BY ‘HIS GUY’ BOB PISANO! In regards to public criticism, Paul, cannot point out one unwarranted public criticism or humiliation, or outright lie by any national elected official about the above mentioned folks. Actually, most of our hard working staff has stayed loyal to the members and stayed out of the political fray. It is mostly those Pisano sycophants beholding to their boss over the membership that have come under criticism by the membership! To be honest, I can’t remember seeing any criticism in the press by elected leadership of anyone other than Netflix Bob, and that was because he had a case of “Conflict Of Interest” in conjunction with his directorship in Netflix. As I pointed out earlier, all of the firing that has been done in the last four years was done Pisano, who Christie and his USAN/Restore Respect pals supported.
The list of those who have been targeted for this kind of treatment includes many of our most valued current and former executives: former national executive director Ken Orsatti , former Hollywood executive director Len Chassman, former New York executive director John Sucke, former executive assistant Clinta Dayton, former chief financial officer Gerald Wilson, former legal counsel Leo Geffner, former legal counsel David Alter, former national executive director Bob Pisano, former chief financial officer Francesca Hickson, former national executive director Greg Hessinger, and three former employees who never even got the chance to work a single day for us before being “fired”, Rebecca Rhine, John Russum, and Joanne Kessler.
Well, you can certainly see why this wasn’t published in our SAG Actor Magazine! Christie throws out a lot of names, but offers not one scintilla of proof to support his allegations. Without getting into the personal lives of all these folks to refute Christie’s bogus claims, disproving a few will make the point. Ken Orsatti retired due to a very serious illness. John Sucke announced his retirement in 2002 during the Restore Respect/USAN regime. If he was fired, it was by PISANO! Need I go on! This from Variety Jul. 23, 2001
Like I said, I have never seen any of these folks vilified by SAG leaders in the press or on official websites. Only, Pisano was criticized, and even then those criticisms were restricted to his policies and business relationships. He never suffered the kind of vitriol and name calling that has recently been directed toward President Rosenberg by the writer of this piece and his fellow USAN leaders–who have publicly described President Rosenberg as an obsequious shill who takes unethical, immoral and fascist actions!
Recently four more Hollis Batchelor, Susan Rose, Anne Talltree, and Carolyn Winnor, who have each served us for decades announced their intentions to retire at the end of the year.
So when staff members retire that’s someone’s fault! Paul, Baby, people retire! They get OLD! They want to move to Florida! My God, what’s next? Paul will be blaming his opponents when staff members DIE!
All together, this long list comprises over 450 years of experience, dedication, and most importantly “institutional memory”gonejust in the past five years. Four who have managed to hang on, fortunately for us, in my opinion, are: Senior Advisor John McGuire, Deputy National Executive Director for Contracts Sally Weaver, New York Executive Assistant Ruth Baptiste, and present General Counsel David White. But they have also been repeated targets.
Ruth Baptiste has been a target! Who the hell is Ruth Baptiste? Okay, the Ol’ Dog has taken on Sally Weaver for lying to me in a membership meeting about the non-union foreign “made-in played-in” commercial waiver–and General Counsel David White for not being upfront with the membership about SAG’s legal persecution of makeup man Vulich and presumptuous insertion of SAG into CEO Pisano’s Conflict Of Interest Lawsuit! Other than Hessinger and Pisano, I can’t remember seeing any of the above made targets in the media or websites by any leadership figures.
So again, I ask.when is it you? We continue down this road at our own collective peril. The elected change every year, but our staff cannot or we will be perpetuating instability and chaos. This should be an honor roll listed above, and we should, all of us, be forever grateful.
So, with a couple of exceptions, who say’s we ain’t. Christie is trying to play the staff against his opponents, as if, because they have issues with a few senior staff, they have issues with all of them. Divisive BS!
This of course is only my opinion an opinion based on 27 years as a member, and first hand experience with each of them. I myself give thanks for all they have done.
Mr. Christie seems to think he is the only one that admires the tireless work that most of our staff does for us. It’s only those that cast their allegiance with the CEO/NED over the membership–or those that think they know best, that most of us have a problem.
Oh, by the way, Ol’ Paul seems to have left out a senior staff member that was fired,
(Hollywood Reporter Feb 5, 2002)
Of course that firing didn’t bother Mr. Christie because Mr. Simmens was fired by Pisano for standing up for the membership. Acting upon the instructions of the National Board to further SAG’s support of FTAC, Mr. Simmens was informed by CEO Pisano that he didn’t work for the board, but for himthen he was fired.
And there my fellow SAG members is the crux of the difference between Mr. Christie and his USAN/Restore Respect cohorts and the REST OF US. They think SAG’s staff should work for the NED! We think that they should work for THE MEMBERSHIP!
Think about it.”
I’m sure everyone will, Paul! I’m sure they will.
Paul Christie, SAG New York President, SAG 2nd National Vice President
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief