Who Holds SAG Accountable?
Re-Update: In response to comments from readers, I'd like to clarify that SAG has not denied the story. The guild's response to my specific questions about the meeting can be read below in the original post. It's a day later, and the guild has still not denied the story. Nikki Finke saying the guild denies the story does not make it so. The guild declines to say when this meeting took place. My further reporting indicates it was a few months ago. If and when I am able to confirm further details, I will post them in the original story.
Earlier: In customary style, Nikki Finke devotes more ink than I do to supposedly debunking the story I broke about a secret meeting of top stars convened by SAG president Alan Rosenberg. It was not deleted; I was editing it last night to further check facts and inadvertently left it in ‘draft’. I have now reposted, and apologies to those who missed it in their sleep. On further reporting, I learn that the essence of the story is correct. I have amended the time element, however.
Here is what makes me curious about this story. SAG acknowledges that it has occasional meetings “on set” and elsewhere with top stars to talk about issues of the day. How often does this occur? In what context? And who is informed about such matters? Apparently not the membership.
I wonder if it is considered normal policy for a labor union to invite a cadre of elites to consult on strategy and policy, outside the board and outside the guild’s official business. On the face of it, it sounds as if the guild was lobbying this group to get support for its policy of continuing to reject the studios’ offer, despite pressure from AFTRA, which cut a separate deal.
Readers will recall that SAG is not always an organization that makes full disclosure a part of its every day habits. Just weeks ago I broke a story about SAG sitting on $25 million in “unclaimed residuals.” I remind readers that the guild launched a campaign to return this money three weeks after my story went out.
Finally, if the story is so unimportant, I wonder why Nikki Finke devotes so much energy to it, and if doing so serves her readers. I suspect it has more to do with embarrassing a fellow journalist. Is she a mouthpiece for SAG, or an independent voice? I believe reporting is about holding institutions to account, including the guilds and the studios in this case. I will always be open to rectifying errors, and have done so.