We have been waiting for Bob Iger or Disney to release a statement in regard to the current WGA strike going on in Hollywood. Other studio heads and CEOs have given statements but Iger has seemingly said nothing. It seems that ABC Signature’s legal department sent out letters demanding showrunners and writing producers continue to work on Disney projects even if they would receive fines from the union.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, a letter was written by the assistant chief counsel Bob McPhail, for Disney-owned ABC Signature that told showrunners and writer-producers they must continue doing their work even with the WGA strike.
“We want specifically to reiterate to you as a showrunner or other writer-producer that you are not excused from performing your duties as a showrunner and/or producer on your series as a result of the WGA strike. Your personal services agreement with [the] Studio requires that you perform your showrunner and/or producing duties even if the WGA attempts to fine you for performing such services during the strike. Your duties as a showrunner and/or producer are not excused, suspended or terminated until and unless you are so notified in writing by the Studio.”
The WGA union prohibits union members from doing some of the duties Disney demands during a work stoppage. This is putting those individuals in a tight spot with the union.
Disney even went as far as to draft a Q&A for those impacted encouraging them to work even if their union as asked them not to. Even admitting that the could be fined by the union for “crossing the picket line!” But said they would defend them against the fines saying: “The studio will defend and indemnify you against any fines or claims by the WGA for performing non-writing services.”
The letter goes on to say that writers can refuse to strike. They even tell the email recipients that they can resign from membership in the union! And they tell them that they don’t have to pay them during work stoppages.
Here are some of the Q&A responses:
Disney is demanding that their showrunners and writing producers, who are members of the union, return to work because their “personal services agreement requires them to continue to work for all non-writing services A-H.
However, THR says that the WGA union rules prohibit A-H functions.
“The Rules prohibit hyphenates (members who are employed in dual capacities) from performing any writing services, including the ‘(a) through (h)’ functions,”
Meanwhile, Bob Iger himself has said nothing.
Will other studios follow suit now?
At least Disney didn’t send in the Pinkertons like Hasbro.
What do you think? Comment and let us know!
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