Wow. Joan Rivers, who’s always been very pro-union and a writers’ advocate, is being brought up on charges by the Writers Guild East. We will try and get a response from Joan ASAP.
Here’s what they say:
New York– The Council of the Writers Guild of America, East voted July 3rd to send charges filed against Joan Rivers, a lifetime member of WGAE, to a hearing before a three-person trial board.
The charges allege that Rivers violated the union’s rules by writing and by performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show Fashion Police. Writers Guild members have been on strike against Fashion Police since April 17, 2013. The writers on that show are paid a fraction of industry-standard compensation and receive no health or pension benefits.
The WGAE’s governing body determined that, if the charges against Rivers are proven to be accurate, then they would constitute a violation of the union’s rules; accordingly, pursuant to the WGAE’s constitution and by-laws, the Council referred the charges to a trial board. A trial board of three WGAE members will be appointed shortly. Rivers will be given the opportunity to present her case directly to the trial board, which will also hear evidence, including from the striking writers.
“We are distressed by reports that Joan Rivers, who worked so hard to create an illustrious career, turned her back on other writers who are still building careers of their own,” said Michael Winship, WGAE President. “The question of whether she has, in fact, violated our working rules will be decided by the trial board. We cannot pre-judge the outcome, but we can say that it is a very serious matter when a member is accused of writing and showrunning on a non-covered show, and continuing to do so after the other writers have decided to go on strike for reasonable pay and benefits.”