DGA consider expelling Fanaka

Helmer sez guild has violated his civil rights

The ethics committee of the Directors Guild of America held a closed-door hearing Thursday to consider expelling director Jamaa Fanaka for alleged “conduct unbecoming a member.”

After hearing testimony from several witnesses who allegedly had run-ins with the 57-year-old director of “Penitentiary” and its two sequels, the seven-member committee adjourned without reaching a decision on whether to recommend his expulsion to the guild’s Western Directors’ Council. Any action on the matter would ultimately be up to the DGA’s national board of directors.

Fanaka was accused, among other things, of threatening fellow director Paris Barclay with physical harm; disrupting two DGA meetings, in May and September last year, with “belligerent outbursts” and interruptions; using an obscenity to refer to a panel moderator at one of the meetings; and improperly tape-recording telephone conversations with two DGA officials.

During the September meeting — called the DGA Summit on Diversity — security officers twice escorted Fanaka from the theater, according to the guild’s complaint against him.

Reached after the meeting, Fanaka said if he is expelled from the DGA, he intends to “sue them in federal court for fraud, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

“I can prove their lies and their perjuries,” Fanaka said. “It was a kangaroo court, which I expected.”

Fanaka conceded that he was allowed to cross-examine four of the witnesses, one of them Barclay. The charges against him are “trumped-up” and a “violation of my civil rights,” said Fanaka.

DGA officials said they cannot discuss “internal matters about members.”

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