The Writers Guild of America West is taking on Tyler Perry.
The guild on Thursday filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against House of Payne LLC, the production shingle for the Perry-owned syndie/TBS comedy “House of Payne” and the upcoming TBS spinoff “Meet the Browns.”
Guild alleges that Perry fired four writers on “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns” earlier this week in retaliation for their efforts to negotiate a WGAW contract for scribes on the show.
Matt Johnson, Perry’s attorney, denied the accusation, saying in a statement that the guild “misrepresented the facts.” Johnson said that four of the seven writers employed on “Browns” were let go “because of the quality of their work.”
The guild’s filing claims that “House of Payne” and “Browns” writers Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson and Lamont Ferrell were fired this week by Perry after having sought to negotiate a WGAW contract for the show since April. Moore, Brown-Jackson and Ferrell are members of the WGAW; Griffin is not.
The filing also accuses Perry’s company of “negotiating in bad faith” with the guild during the past six months. Johnson countered that the company has come to terms with the WGAW on a contract for the “Browns” scribes on every point but the issue of residual payments should repeats of the cable production air on broadcast TV.
WGAW said the four writers and other supporters would mount a picket line outside Saturday’s opening night event for the Tyler Perry Studios facility in Atlanta.
Perry, a prolific scribe who has written and directed more than six movies and his TV skeins during the past four years, has never been a member of the WGA. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild.