Protest at SAG Awards TODAY Against Industry’s Covid Vaccination Mandate
Union Entertainment Professionals opposed to the Film & TV industry’s vaccination mandate are protesting the SAG AWARDS SHOW in SOLIDARITY on the East and West Coasts with SAG-AFTRA Members Against Vax Mandates
LOS ANGELES / NYC, Feb. 26th, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — SAG-AFTRA and other entertainment Union Members from across the country who oppose the film and TV industry’s vaccination mandate will protest in SOLIDARITY today, Sunday February 26th. Protesters will gather peacefully outside the Sag Awards Show in Los Angeles at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90067 1:00pm sharp. New York Union Members in SOLIDARITY will also peacefully protest the mandates at: 333 West 23rd Street, New York, NY. 6pm
Those who will speak out at the Awards Show, or at the Protests remain to be seen. Up to now, industry pressure has prevented the famous as well as behind the scenes union members who oppose the mandates from speaking out. Although a large percentage of the membership oppose forcing medical choices for union members to work, they have remained silent on the issue in fear of repercussions or of being cancelled. In the recent months there have been Hollywood Celebrities who have had the guts to risk their careers to speak out for those who are being discriminated against (list at the end of this article).
“More famous celebrities need to speaking out, not only because of the influence they have, but because they have a moral responsibility to their fellow union members who are being harmed by the unlawful mandate,” Says Carlos Guerrero. “Media also has a duty to cover this important story, as SAG-AFTRA is one of the last bastions to hold out on the unlawful requirements to work.”
Carlos Guerrero, a Miami-based actor spreading word of the protest, has created a videos series “Discriminated Sag-Aftra Members” where members describe how their lawful rights to accommodations for religious or medical exemption, have been denied and ignored by SAG-AFTRA’s leaders. Leaders have been put on notice, but have done nothing to protect their members who joined specifically for the very protections afforded union members. The video series has been viewed upwards of a half a million times, and clearly illustrates the hypocrisy of an industry that continues to force workers to comply with regulations and mandates by which the leaders themselves do not abide.
The on-going “Return-To-Work” agreement was said to be designed to bring Film and TV Industry Workers back to work in a safe manner. For well over a year, thousands of members in the industry have been fighting against the Vaccine Mandates implemented on the RTW because the policy does not allow them to work on productions that require a “Fully Vaccinated” Cast and Crew. The NED said the productions requiring vaccine mandates amount to 25%. Yet, on SAG-AFTRA’s own webpage there is a list stating that of the approximate 1,000 SAG-AFTRA productions, only 40 have rescinded the mandates, while the others are implementing a Mandatory Vaccination Policy. That means approximately 96% of current productions still have a Mandatory Vax Policy.
Last year, on April 28, 2022, A protest was held at the SAG-AFTRA Headquarters in Los Angeles where hundreds of members showed up to demand an end to the mandates. Many entertainment union industry members spoke at this Rally.
“The vaccine almost killed me,” said Sally Kirkland, Golden Globe Award winner and Oscar-nominated actress, who spoke at the rally. She reiterated her position to actor Carlos Guerrero, who recorded her testimony to include in his Discriminated series.
Guerrero, who walked Kirkland back to her car after the protest says, “Sally was frail and walked slowly as she was still recovering from her injuries. She told me she watched my Video Series and found it inspiring.
Kirkland got the covid shot to be allowed to work on a movie with Sally Fields, Lilly Tomlin, and Jane Fonda called “80 For Brady.” Ironically, Fields will be awarded the well-deserved “Lifetime Achievement SAG Award” tonight.
“How could this happen?” asks Guerrero. “Sally Kirkland sat on the SAG-AFTRA National Board for years. The Union has turned its back on all members who have not or could not take the Vax.”
MEMBERS LIKE THESE:
Hollywood Stunt Legend Debbie Evans (National Board Member standing for members freedom of choice, seven-time Taurus World Stunt Award Winner and stuntwoman for 45 years and counting. Over 400 Movie, TV and Commercial Credits.
Chuck Slavin, a relentless force leading the exhausting effort behind the movement to end these discriminatory mandates. Slavin faces extremely intense situations behind the scenes as he sacrifices an enormous amount of his time to make things happen. Slavin is credited with connecting many of the people who are currently in this fight, including Hollywood stars, National and local SAG-AFTRA Board Members and other discriminated members.
“All those years we paid our dues and our insurance just to be kicked to curb when we needed support the most,” said stuntwoman and actress Cha Cha Sandoval-McMahon, the organizer of the protest. “When I see the androgynous statue that symbolizes our union standing proud, I feel like it is flipping us the finger.”
“This is not right! Approximately 80 National Board Members have been deciding the fate of 160,000 active SAG-AFTRA members who follow the commands of the NED,” says Guerrero who believes strongly that the majority of the members really disapprove of the mandates as well as disapprove of SAF-AFTRA’s Ned’s performance as demonstrated by the comments on this video on SAG-AFTRA’s own post on IG.
“With the whole country being released from all vaccination mandates, it is unscientific and discriminatory that SAG-AFTRA wouldn’t follow suit,” says Pete Antico, a former SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate and co-chair of the union’s Stunt & Safety Committee. “The vaccination mandate has kept many members from working, feeding their families and qualifying for health benefits.”