SAG-AFTRA Election Committee Dismisses All Post-Election Protests; Tom Hanks Is Off The Hook For Endorsing Fran Drescher – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA’s nationwide election committee has dismissed a plethora of post-election protests that had been filed by the shedding candidates and their supporters in the union’s recent election during which Fran Drescher, working on the ruling get together’s Unite for Strength (UFS) slate, was elected president, and Joely Fisher, working on the opposition Membership First slate, was voted in as nationwide secretary-treasurer, defeating Anthony Rapp.

Matthew Modine, who was defeated in his second bid for the presidency, was one in all a number of MembershipFirst candidates who filed protests, although Fisher, his victorious working mate, didn’t problem the end result. Other complaints had been filed by SAG-AFTRA members Peter Antico, Adam Nelson, Chuck Slavin, David Clennon, Samantha Hartson and Kevin Cannon.

“We have carefully reviewed and considered the protests, the parties’ submissions, the Election Policy, the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, and applicable federal election law,” the committee stated in its resolution. “We conclude that there was no violation of the Election Policy, the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, or federal election law. Accordingly, we dismiss all post-election protests.”

Read the committee’s resolution here.

In an announcement to Deadline, Modine alleged that the committee failed in its duties to make sure a good election, and that its dismissal of the protests “is a UFS celebration of unfair advantage and deceit.”

Fran Drescher Matthew modine

Drescher and Modine

“I love my union and its vast array of members,” he stated. “‘Union,’ by definition, means unity. The primary function and purpose of SAG-AFTRA’s existence is to provide and protect its members. Today’s findings illustrate a sad truth: The committee that oversees the election must scrutinize the process and look for unfair advantages and behavior that violates the campaign rules. But it didn’t. It should come as no surprise that the election committee is made up entirely of Unite for Strength members. This Election committee is seated by the union president, in this case, the departed Gabrielle Carteris — Carteris’ and now newly seated president Fran Drescher’s faction. There were dozens of clear, tangible, actual violations presented to the election committee in our election. These violations were presented by several members, all from different locals. Each of the violations were associated with UFS improprieties. Each violation was presented to the ‘UFS election committee,’ and all complaints were dismissed. The dismissal of these critical violations, which I hope will be made public, is a UFS celebration of unfair advantage and deceit. When the core functions of a union fail to serve all its members, what recourse do we have?”

The committee, responding to the protesters’ declare that it’s biased as a result of it was allegedly “populated solely with Unite for Strength party members loyal to former SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris,” famous that it “was appointed pursuant to the procedures … of the SAG-AFTRA Constitution, which provides, in relevant part: i. The National Board shall appoint a National Officer Election Committee to oversee the conduct of all National Officer elections and to hear and determine election protests in accordance with the procedures and polices established by the National Board. ii. The Election Committee shall be made up of at least three members in good standing, who may not be candidates for National Officer, National Board or Local Board positions. The members of this Election Committee were, accordingly, appointed by the National Board, and not, as alleged, by any political party. The National Board approved the appointments in a more than two-thirds super-majority vote. We find no violation.”

tom hanks march 2020 AP


One of the various protests dismissed by the committee concerned Tom Hanks, whose endorsement of Drescher and her Unite for Strength slate was featured prominently in her marketing campaign. Protesters, nevertheless, claimed that his endorsement violated federal election legislation, which prohibits using employer funds to advertise the candidacy of anybody working for union workplace. Hanks is the co-founder of Playtone, his movie and TV manufacturing firm. U.S. Dept. of Labor laws – Section 401(g) of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act – additionally present that employer assets, embody each direct and oblique expenditures, is probably not utilized in union elections.

Many different outstanding actors even have their very own manufacturing corporations, and the committee discovered that Hanks was completely inside his rights – and the legislation – to endorse Drescher and her group as a result of no employer assets had been concerned.

Hanks even signed a sworn declaration, underneath penalty of perjury, which states: “I, Tom Hanks, declare as follows: I am a member of SAG-AFTRA. As a member of SAG-AFTRA, I allowed the Unite for Strength slate to include my endorsement and photograph in their campaign literature. The photograph that was used is a photograph that I own, and have the absolute right to use as I deem appropriate. Although I own a production company, none of the company’s staff, resources, equipment, or other things of value were utilized in connection with my endorsement or support of the Unite for Strength slate. I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California that the forgoing is true and correct.”

The committee concurred in its resolution: “In response to the protests, UFS submitted a statement and signed declaration from Tom Hanks. In his signed declaration, Hanks affirmed that he is a member of SAG-AFTRA, that he gave his endorsement of Drescher, Rapp, and UFS in his capacity as a SAG-AFTRA member, and that no employer resources were used in connection with the endorsement. He also stated that the photograph that was used is a photograph that he owns and that he has the absolute right to use the photograph as he deems appropriate. Finally, he affirmed that although he owns a production company, none of the company’s staff, resources, equipment, or other things of value were used in connection with his endorsement or to support the UFS slate.”

In his endorsement, Hanks stated: “The future of SAG-AFTRA is streaming. Members deserve stronger contracts, more residuals, better protections, and ending unfair exclusivity. I’m supporting Fran, Anthony and their entire team. Your vote matters!”

The committee famous that though each the SAG-AFTRA election coverage and federal legislation “prohibit using employer funds to help a candidate for union election, each the Department (of Labor) and the courts have made clear that members of SAG-AFTRA who may additionally be thought-about to be employers…might endorse the candidates of their alternative so long as they achieve this of their particular person capacities with out using employer assets.

It added:

“Neither the marketing campaign supplies nor the endorsement on the UFS web site refers to Playtone or Hanks’s alleged standing as an proprietor of Playtone. Additionally, there is no such thing as a proof that any of the marketing campaign supplies had been distributed utilizing Playtone or some other employer’s funds. In reality, in his declaration, Hanks affirms that he supplied his endorsement and film to UFS in his capability as a SAG-AFTRA member, and that no funds from his firm Playtone had been used. No opposite proof was supplied to us.

“In sum, as a SAG-AFTRA member, just like a number of other high-profile SAG-AFTRA members who might be considered employers, some of whom endorsed one slate and some of whom endorsed the other, Hanks had the right to support the candidate of his choosing in SAG-AFTRA’s election as long as he did so in his individual capacity and without the use of employer resources. The fact that Hanks may serve in some circumstances as an employer does not limit this right. Based on the evidence provided, we find no evidence that employer resources were used in connection with Hanks’s endorsement of Drescher, Rapp, and the UFS slate. Accordingly, we find that no violation of Section 401(g) and the Election Policy occurred.”

The committee additionally discovered “insufficient evidence” to help the protesters’ claims that Drescher’s supervisor, Rick Dorfman, violated the legislation when he despatched out an electronic mail selling her candidacy – which he later requested recipients to ignore. Dorfman is head of comedy, content material improvement & inventive technique at Authentic Talent & Literary Management.

“Even if there were a violation, and we have found that no violation occurred,” the committee wrote, “we also note that Dorfman sent a letter within hours of the first email encouraging the recipients of his first email to ‘vote for whomever you think will support the issues that you are most passionate about.’ The following day, he sent an additional email to the recipients which included the language: ‘Please do not take any action or make any contributions in response to my email. If you forwarded this email to anyone, or asked anyone to take action as a result, please advise them to disregard the request as well.’”

The committee famous that the DOL and the courts “have consistently recognized that curative action such as this negates a finding of a Section 401(g) violation. Thus, we find that Dorfman took appropriate precautionary steps to cure a possible violation which, as stated, we find did not occur.”

Robert Allen, MembershipFirst’s legal professional, additionally was important of the committee, claiming that it “confirmed its bias in its own report, finding no election violations despite presenting undisputed evidence that confirm that violations occurred. By way of example, the committee confirmed that manager Dorfman, who is an employee of Authentic, used his employer’s email system to send out his endorsement of Drescher (Dorfman acknowledges that he only has one email address). The committee, who correctly articulates the legal standard, then repeatedly ignores it. The question is not whether Dorfman, Hanks or others were employers. The question is whether employer resources were used to promote a candidate. The committee, knowing that the answer was yes, instead, like a magician, focus our attention on the bright, shiny object—here, employer status — while using sleight of hand to make the truth — use of employer resources — seemingly disappear. Hanks provided a photo to UFS that he now purports to own. A simple google search shows that photo used by major news organizations, all crediting either the photographer or Columbia Pictures as the owner. The committee fails to investigate and ask the obvious question — when did Hanks acquire the photo and did he own it when it was used by UFS? Thus confirming it was never going to find an election violation, regardless of the facts or the truth.”

In August, earlier than the votes had been counted, the committee dominated that native TV station KTLA had “crossed the line from journalistically appropriate news coverage” of the union’s election to “improper promotion” of candidates working on the MembershipFirst slate.

SAG-AFTRA Election Committee Urges KTLA To Provide Equal Time For Unite For Strength Candidates Or Risk Costly Re-Run Of Union’s Election

That resolution, which urged KTLA to supply “equal access” to candidates working on the ruling get together’s Unite for Strength slate, stemmed from an Aug. 4 interview that leisure reporter Sam Rubin performed with Joely Fisher, and his Aug. 11 interview with Sheryl Lee Ralph, a MembershipFirst candidate for L.A. Local vp. Rubin, who was working for the union’s L.A. native board on their slate, was later elected to the board.

That resolution, which didn’t discover any wrongdoing by MembershipFirst or any of its candidates – together with Rubin – decided that the interviews in query amounted to an “improper” employer contribution to MembershipFirst candidates as a result of the station declined to supply equal time to candidates on the opposite slate, although Rubin prefaced his interview with Fisher by saying that “candidates from both groups are very much welcome on our show here.”

Source Link – deadline.com

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