Actor acting as mediator in SAG-AFTRA feud

Here’s how toxic the SAG-AFTRA feud has become: George Clooney has decided to declare his neutrality.

The battle between the two unions has been a gory sideshow, with the town resigned to production halting on July 1. Clooney made the point that there’s only one winner in an actor-vs.-actor brawl: the congloms.

The SAG-AFTRA fight over how to get a decent deal has devolved to the point that Clooney last week came up with two proposals to break the logjam: increasing union dues (currently capped at $6,000 a year) for big earners like himself to $6,000 per $1 million; and creating a panel of megastars such as Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson to meet annually with studio heads to adjust salaries.

Clooney’s not just any star, and he hasn’t shied away from guild politics. He joined Hanks, Robert DeNiro and Meryl Streep earlier this year in urging SAG to start negotiations ASAP. And he resigned from the WGA to protest the refusal of guild arbiters to give him screenplay credit for “Leatherheads.”

“What we can’t do is pit artists against artists,” he says, “because the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson vs. Tom Hanks only strengthens the negotiating power of the AMPTP” referring to the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

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