EXCLUSIVE, UPDATED with UFS assertion: With only one week to go within the SAG-AFTRA election, Matthew Modine has accused Fran Drescher of defamation and threatened authorized motion if she doesn’t challenge a public apology by Friday.
“Your defamation of Mr. Modine, your opposing candidate for SAG-AFTRA president, at the eleventh hour of the current election, is not only disgraceful and repugnant, but damaging to Mr. Modine’s professional reputation and career and hurtful to him personally and financially,” mentioned Robert Allen, legal professional for Modine’s MembershipFirst slate, in an electronic mail despatched to Drescher on Thursday.
“I’m ashamed of Fran Drescher,” Modine mentioned tonight throughout a MembershipFirst city corridor assembly. “I’m disappointed. But she’ll be judged by the people in the world after she’s gone, or by whatever god she worships.”
SAG-AFTRA Election Committee Urges KTLA To Provide Equal Time For Unite For Strength Candidates Or Risk Costly Re-Run Of Union’s Election
“Here we go again,” Unite for Strength mentioned in an announcement in response Thursday evening. “Every time Membership First doesn’t like the outcome of a democratic process they stoop to yet another frivolous lawsuit. Just as they have already cost SAG-AFTRA members over $2 million in failed lawsuit after failed lawsuit. Sadly, this is the second campaign in a row that Matthew Modine’s Membership First has flouted national election law. Litigiousness is not leadership. Members deserve leaders with vision, not vitriol. It takes a lot of gall to talk about kindness, and then turn around and attempt to bully people with lawsuits.”
At challenge is an electronic mail that Drescher despatched earlier Thursday to members during which she referred to a recent ruling by the union’s national election committee, which discovered that KTLA had “crossed the line from journalistically appropriate news coverage” of the union’s election to “improper promotion” of candidates working on Modine’s slate.
The committee’s resolution, which urged the L.A. native information station to supply “equal access” to candidates working on Drescher’s Unite for Strength slate, stems from an August 4 interview that leisure reporter Sam Rubin carried out with Joely Fisher, a MembershipFirst candidate for nationwide secretary-treasurer, and Rubin’s August 11 interview with Sheryl Lee Ralph, a MembershipFirst candidate for L.A. Local vice chairman. Rubin can be an L.A. Local board candidate working on their slate, which he disclosed on the broadcasts.
The election committee decided that Rubin’s interviews have been an “improper” employer contribution to MembershipFirst candidates as a result of the station declined to supply equal time to candidates on the opposite slate, despite the fact that Rubin prefaced his interview with Fisher by saying that “candidates from both groups are very much welcome on our show here.” KTLA, nevertheless, has subsequently declined to supply them with equal time, which the election committee mentioned may end in a re-run of the election.
In her electronic mail, Drescher mentioned: “Now they think it’s okay to violate the law and that the rules don’t apply to them. The non-partisan national SAG-AFTRA Election Committee found that Modine and Membership First broke the rules.” Her electronic mail included a hyperlink to a Los Angeles Times article beneath the headline: “SAG-AFTRA election board finds KTLA, Modine-led group broke rules.”
This is “defamatory,” Allen mentioned, “as a result of it falsely states that Mr. Modine and Membership First, a gaggle during which Mr. Modine is a distinguished member, violated labor legislation and broke guidelines surrounding the present union election. The resolution of the National Officer Election Committee on August 10, 2021 Pre-Election Protest, which SAG-AFTRA emailed to you, by no means as soon as accused Mr. Modine of any wrongdoing – Mr. Modine didn’t seem on KTLA and had nothing to do with the interviews at challenge. Nor did the Decision accuse MembershipFirst of any wrongdoing. To the opposite, the one ‘bad actor’ recognized within the resolution is KTLA.
“Additionally, the very first sentence of the linked LA Times article specifically states that ‘A SAG-AFTRA national election committee has found that a candidate interview conducted by KTLA journalist Sam Rubin violated its rules.’ Nowhere in this article is Mr. Modine or Membership First characterized as having violated any labor law or union election rules.”
Allen, in his electronic mail to Drescher, mentioned “We subsequently demand that you just do every of the next within the subsequent twenty-four (24) hours: (a) ship an electronic mail by means of SAG-AFTRA, to the identical recipients because the Email, acknowledging that these statements are unfaithful and apologizing for defaming Mr. Modine; and (b) made a public assertion stating the identical.
“Please be advised that in the event you fail to comply with the demands made herein, Mr. Modine shall take whatever legal action he deems necessary and appropriate to protect his rights, including, without limitation, commencing legal action against you and all parties involved related to your defamatory conduct.”
Raising the matter at tonight’s digital city corridor, Modine mentioned: “I’d like to speak to you not as a candidate for the national presidency of SAG-AFTRA. I’d like to speak to you as a fellow human being, not even as a fellow SAG-AFTRA member.”
Noting that most of the 83 individuals in attendance might have acquired Drescher’s electronic mail, he mentioned that her accusations are “slanderous and hateful and hurtful. Not simply to myself in my life, however to my profession. One of the primary obligations that the president of the union, I imagine, has to its members is a way of accountability in defending their livelihood. Perhaps a very powerful job that the president of the union has is to guard the members.
“I don’t understand why anyone would harm another person in a way that members of Unite for Strength, and particularly Fran Drescher now, is trying to do. This is a momentary blip in the history of the world. This I know – every single person on this call will die one day. We will be dead. And we will be left with our memories. If there’s a god, and we lived good and just lives, we will be rewarded by that god that we worship. If there is no god, our memories – because we behaved good and kind, and helped people when they slipped and fell – we will be remembered in the memories of our children and our grandchildren for being kind souls who tried to make this world a better place for other people.”
Deadline reached out to Unite for Strength for remark and is awaiting their response.
Ballots within the election will likely be counted on September 2.