By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
A lawyer for Perry is claiming that the writers’ firings had nothing to do with contract negotiations but were related solely to “the quality of their work.” Perry also refused to agree to a WGA contract giving the writers health care benefits or pensions. He fired the writers after warning them to “be careful about pushing the WGA deal or you could be replaced,” according to one of the axed scribes.
But because Perry owns 100 percent of his films and TV productions, he can as an indie forgo a guild agreement. Now the WGA has told guild members, “Under Working Rule 8, members of the Writers Guild of America, West may not accept employment with any nonsignatory entity, including Tyler Perry Studios and all of its related entities. The guild intends to fully enforce this important policy.”
No mainstream media outlets — People, CNN — even mentioned the WGA protest outside the gala party at Tyler Perry Studios, a 60,000-square-foot production complex on 28 acres featuring a 300-seat screening room, three sound stages and a theater.
Shame on those who crossed the picket line to attend: Will Smith, Oprah Winfrey, Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson, Louis Gossett Jr., Holly Robinson Peete, Tracey Edmonds, music mogul L.A. Reid, singer John Legend, baseball legends Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds. Also, Mary J. Blige, Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight, who all performed.
This is not the first alleged union buster to be a big Obama supporter. Most of the Hollywood CEOs and their wives are big fund-raisers, campaigners and supporters of Obama’s. Yet all the studios and networks have been working for the past 18 months to bust two of Hollywood’s highest-cost talent guilds. The WGA filed charges with the NLRB over Big Media’s refusal to negotiate during the writers strike.
And now another strike could be looming because the same employers won’t negotiate with the Screen Actors Guild, which belongs to the AFL-CIO. Which is why it took courage for SAG National Board member Anne-Marie Johnson to say this on the WGA Web site: “I realize that speaking publicly in support of the writers will jeopardize my recurring role, but Mr. Perry’s firing of writers for negotiating for fair WGA coverage, including health insurance, does not speak well for a man who claims to believe in family, pride in one’s race and artistic equality. It’s time he steps up to do the right thing.”
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