Actors' Equity Confirms they Will Meet with the Lawsuit Plaintiffs

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After Footlights’ “Oops Scoop” last weekend in which they “inadvertently jumped the gun,” according to my sources, and released the news prematurely, much to the consternation of both sides, things got oddly quiet. I followed up with the Communications Director of Equity and received no reply and got a “no comment” from one of the original Review Committee folks as well, which made it very clear that both parties wanted to control the message until the time was right.

Well the time is now apparently right.

Equity has released a statement confirming that yes indeed they have agreed to meet with the plaintiffs. Here’s the statement:

“Actors’ Equity Association announced today that the union and the plaintiffs in the Asner vs. Actors Equity Litigation have agreed to meet. Due to pending litigation Actors’ Equity will not make any further statements about the meeting.”

I also reached out to one of the National Councillors, whose name I will keep anonymous, but their response makes it very clear that more than likely Bitter Lemons will be kept out of the flow of news like this from here on out. Which is understandable since we have been the only ones to cut through the bullshit when it comes to this Equity story. Here’s some of the response from the Councillor:

At the beginning you appeared to make an effort at fairness and objectivity – presenting both sides of this debate, but that pretty quickly went off the rails and you chose to turn BitterLemons into the true embodiment of its name. All the Bitterness That’s Fit to Blog. An adjunct website for the Pro99 movement – complete with name calling, public shaming, personal attacks and a lack of all journalistic integrity.

As someone with a Journalism degree and a fellow Equity member, I have to admit to being disappointed in you.

As to your question – I serve on Equity Council and, as such, have a Fiduciary duty to act on behalf of the Association. I’m unable to comment on any threatened or ongoing litigation or potential legal action that may involve Actors’ Equity.

This is all fine, really, because while the more “traditional” news sources will continue to serve as glorified publicists for both sides, we here at the Lemon will continue to try and disseminate the unmitigated truth, and do our best to contextualize it as well. This was my response to the councillor:

Trust me, ______, your disappointment  in me doesn’t come close to the disappointment I have for my union. And much of that disappointment is a direct result of you and your fellow councillors’ decision to defy the will of its own membership.  And you’re right in one respect, early on I did try to remain more objective as I have been one of the most outspoken proponents for changing the 99 seat plan in Los Angeles for over seven years, and when I waded into this mess I did so walking a fine line between being a member of LA theater, part of a union, and being a media watchdog on the scene. I engaged fully with my union in every way over the last year and I trusted that my union would be fair and do the right thing. That was a mistake I will not make again. It wasn’t until my union began lying to me, ladling on the double-speak and disingenuous bullshit and attempting to bully me that that trust was broken. And that’s when things changed. Now the goal is to defeat the unasked for proposals, after that, we’ll see what happens. I don’t like to be lied to, by individuals or organizations. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Equity has lost me as an actively engaged member because of that failure in trust. As it has done for many of its members here and in NYC.

And as far as my journalistic integrity is concerned, my site is mostly an opinion and editorial based one and it has and remains open to all sides of the debate now and then, and continues to remain that way. It’s just that Equity’s position is so weak now the louder and more eloquent voices are on the other side. After Equity is beaten and punished for their egregious behavior towards its membership than maybe the real work can actually get done here in Los Angeles, because a lot of real work needs to be done as far as the business of theater is concerned. Everything I’ve published that was fact based has been supported by a reliable source, I defy you to name one article where that wasn’t true. You may not have liked the facts, but they were well informed. Opinions, on the other hand, are simply opinions. Which is why I’m trying to follow up with you on this issue because as of now the only source is a "unconfirmed source:. Though I’ve already sussed what needs to be sussed and I’m guessing the official announcement will come out probably on Tuesday.

So, thanks for the noncommittal confirmation. And thanks for getting back to me. Though misguided you remain, I wish you the best. And hopefully when our union has been forced to retreat and is shown the error of its ways, maybe we can all – at last – come together to actually do some good for this very vibrant artistic community. Together. And in solidarity.

Some bridges need to be burned because they lead to nowhere.

Stay tuned.

Comments (4)

Default user

“-a Fiduciary duty to act on behalf of the Association.”
The problem in a nutshell. These people’s highest loyalties are to McColl and company, rather than to the members they supposedly serve.

Default user

Uh, to the unnamed Councillor, sometimes there aren’t two sides. The evolution “debate” comes to mind, as does whether or not the earth orbits the sun. In politics, things get trickier but certain principles hold true. Often one side has facts and legalities and two-thirds of the votes and the other side has money and (at least temporarily) power and spin and lies and bad behavior. So the only way to be “fair and balanced” in reporting is to point out this imbalance, emphasize the known facts, and ignore the bullshit. Lies don’t deserve equal time.

Default user

“Lies don’t deserve equal time.”
PRECISELY. Some specific lies and misrepresentations:

(1) a bullshit, rigged push-poll that asked questions like “Would you like to make more money?”

(2) claims of the existence of a “silent majority” that wanted the promulgated plan, but were too scared of the big, bad producers to speak out. I guess they were afraid to speak out from the anonymous privacy of their own homes, too, when the referendum vote happened and two-thirds of the voters told Equity “NO.”

(3) The supposedly neutral “informational calls” that were, in reality, urging people to vote Equity’s way in the referendum. I was told that lie by both a councilor and McColl herself.

Regardless of how this turns out, Equity worked HARD to lose the trust of its LA members, and, even assuming they acknowledge that, they will be a long time winning it back.

U 338 t 3125638

Here, here Colin! 100%


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