UPDATE: Writer blasts guild, asserts he had already resigned

The Writers Guild of America West has kicked out a member for allegedly writing for “Fashion Police” during the guild’s six-month strike against the show.

The board of directors voted to expel Larry Amoros, for providing “scab” writing services to E! Network’s series and fined him $14,000.

Amoros responded by issuing a statement that he had already resigned from the union by the time he was expelled and accused the guild of running a “smear campaign.”

“How can the WGA throw me out of a club I am not a member of?” Amoros said. “Next week, I look forward to being expelled from the NFL for not being a football player.”

The announcement comes a week after the WGA and Joan Rivers resolved their dispute over the “Fashion Police” host writing on a non-union show.

Rivers had been charged with violating the WGA’s rule for allegedly writing on a struck program. The “Fashion Police” writers went on strike against the E! Network on April 17.

The strike started after writers filed complaints with the state of California alleging that E! and Rivers’ Rugby Prods., which jointly employ the scribes, had not paid $1.5 million in wages and overtime. The WGA, which assisted in the filing of the claims, is sanctioning the strike and has told the 12,000 members not to work on the show until the matter is settled.

E! has demanded that any unionization election would have to be administered by the National Labor Relations Board before it agrees to negotiate a contract. The WGA has asserted that the demand for an election is a stalling tactic.

The case against Amoros, a WGA member since 1993, was heard by a trial committee composed of WGA West members on Sept. 30.  That panel found Amoros had committed “egregious” violations of the guild’s constitution and working rules including continuing to write on a struck show, receiving payment for his services, and failing to cooperate with the guild’s investigation.

The trial committee recommended that the board expel and fine Amoros. The board voted unanimously on Oct. 11 to approve the recommendations of the committee.

Amoros said he has not been an active member of the WGA since 1998 and has not voted or received benefits since then. He’s only paid dues once since then.

Amoros said he resigned formally last month in a letter to WGA West President Chris Keyser after the WGA allegedly threatened to expel Amoros if he didn’t meet with Keyser to provide information about the other writers on “Fashion Police.”

Amoros also said that as a non-member, he had no obligation to participate in what the trial board. “I didn’t attend the trial because I am allergic to kangaroos,” Amoros said.

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow responded to Amoros’ assertion about expulsion by noting that he was still a current guild member when his misconduct took place.

“When the strike at ‘Fashion Police’ was sanctioned by the WGAW on April 17 and the work stoppage order was issued, Mr. Amoros was a current member who, as he noted, was behind in his dues,” Sacharow said. “That did not excuse him from the obligations laid out in the Guild’s constitution and Working Rules. We acknowledge that he submitted a resignation email on September 21, 2013, however, the disciplinary action was based on conduct he committed before he decided to resign.”

Amoros also blasted the WGA leaders by accusing them of wasting money and resources.

“The purpose is transparent — throw the striking writers, who have been out of work for more than six months, a bone, Amoros said. “I’m saddened that my talented colleagues are being used as pawns by the WGA West leadership in its war against E! and that this never ending folly has cost them work and deprived people of their talent and humor.  The WGA West has been carrying on like this for months and it seems that all it has done is wasted time, money cost writers work, created ill-will.”

 

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