Showbizreporting's Blog

August 17, 2009

Tonight’s Meeting

Date: Monday 8/17/2009

The hurried-up National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting will take place tomorrow, Monday, in a videoconference gathering ostensibly to ratify the animatiion and basic cable contracts.

Although the ostensible reason for the NEC meeting is to ratify those contracts, apparently, the real reason for the rush is to address the appeal of “Member Unbecoming” findings of a SAG trial board–which result in a suspension which would disallow SAG Presidential announced candidate Seymour Cassel from being on the Presidential ballot.

Now, the Ol’ Dog has labeled this whole unfortunate affair as “Rubberband Gate” because the primary charge involves a couple of female staff members who where the target of rubberbands, allegedly propelled into their derrieres. It all seems a little trivial, in light of the firestorm it will be sure to engender. (Of course, one may feel differently if it was their backside.)

The reason, I say it will start a firestorm, is because I have been assured that Seymour fully intends to take this to federal court if his appeal is denied. And since this involves an election and some questionable practices by senior SAG staff, it could result in a Federal involvement in this election.

You see, when politically motivated charges were brought against a SAG board opponent several years ago, it ended up in federal court and the plaintiff won. Part of the agreement was that SAG would change the way it did business when it came to “conduct unbecoming” charges.

Well, unfortunately, SAG made no changes, which may be a tad hard to explain to the court when SAG defends its policies in regard to Seymour, who was found guilty under the same unmodified policies.

Also, the fact that Seymour was not informed of charges until he pulled his petition, is also suspicious. I was told by a source, I respect, that Seymour was indeed informed in writing of the charges before he drew his petition, but the facts do not support that. Here is a portion of the copy from SAG that Seymour received regarding the fact that charges were being brought. It supports Seymour’s contention that he was not informed of the charges until after he asked for his petition on June 25th.

Now is this drop dead proof that there is hanky-panky going on? No! But it does support Seymour’s claim that he was not informed of the charges until AFTER he received his petition to run for SAG president. And it will be something SAG Legal will have to answer to if, and when, this goes to Federal Court.

Here is a problem I have with this whole affair; In this case SAG staff, on its own, is able to bring charges unbecoming a member against a member. However, a SAG member cannot bring charges unbecoming against a staff member—but rather has to, at great expense, bring their charges in court. How about this; if these staff members have a complaint, why involve SAG, but rather use the only recourse available to a SAG member and take their complaint to court. Hey, fair is fair.

Look, we have three distinguished actors running for President; Ken Howard, Anne-Marie Johnson and Seymour Cassel, do we really need SAG Staff sticking their noses in this election. Let’s hear from the candidates, and let the membership decide who they want to be SAG president.

The fact is that there is too much political BS going on in our union; And If you don’t believe it then check this post for an update later to understand how politics in the branches is being used to deny a qualified SAG member and well established actor from running for the SAG board.


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