Fear damage to 'professional standing'

The Publicists Guild of America has protested plans by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences to eliminate credentials for personal publicists at this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards.

“We have been inundated with calls from our members who find this policy both ill-conceived and potentially damaging to their professional standing,” wrote Fran Zell, president of the guild, in a letter to ATAS demanding that the policy be rescinded.

ATAS instituted the change in May because of congestion-related safety concerns; it has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday on the issue and indicated that it may be able to relent somewhat on the policy and credential some of the personal publicists. Org issued 98 publicist credentials for last year’s ceremonies for access to the “red carpet” entrance area at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with 72 of those granted access to the press tent.

“We really hit a crisis point last year,” said ATAS chief Meryl Marshall, noting that overall demand for credentials has skyrocketed in recent years with the proliferation of entertainment news shows and online outlets.

ATAS told the PGA that there will be a sufficient number of studio and network escorts at the Sept. 10 show so that each celebrity can be escorted to his seat and to the press tent.

The union has labeled the policy change, announced in a May 15 letter, “unfair and insulting” and claimed that attempts by other orgs to institute similar policies at awards shows have been impossible to apply fairly.

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