Union accused of scapegoating
Joan Rivers says she has not violated her six-week-old agreement with the Writers Guild of America East and that she supports the striking writers on “Fashion Police.”
“It is time for the focus to be on getting the writers a contract, not using me as a scapegoat,” Rivers said, who host the show on E!
The WGA East, which has been backing the strike by writers on E! network’s “Fashion Police,” blasted Rivers on Thursday for a recent interview in which she backed E!’s position — that any unionization election would have to be administered by the National Labor Relations Board before it agrees to negotiate a contract. She referred to the striking scribes as “poor shmuck writers” and added, “Everyone is posturing, like, ‘My dick is bigger than your dick.’”
In a statement Thursday, WGA East president Michael Winship called the comments “derisive and crude” and added, “What she has said is not only reprehensible but flies in the face of a settlement with the WGAE to which she agreed. How dare she at first proclaim solidarity with fellow writers and then so crassly stab them in the back? She should be ashamed of herself, although it is clear that the concept of shame does not trouble what little conscience she has.”
Rivers said Friday that Winship is all wet.
“I am stunned by the WGAE’s recent personal attacks and allegations that I breached the Settlement Agreement in connection with the WGAE Charges,” she said. “I am supportive of the striking writers. I am hopeful that the writers will soon be covered by a WGA Contract as I have just learned that E! and the WGA are having an election in early December. As a long standing member of the WGAE, I am greatly confused and disturbed by Mr. Winship’s unprofessional and hurtful statements about my character.”
Rivers also released a statement from her counsel at the law firm of Loeb & Loeb: “Joan Rivers has fully complied with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. The statements that Mr. Winship attributes to Ms. Rivers do not violate the Settlement Agreement.”
Rivers had been charged with violating the WGA’s rule for allegedly writing on a struck program. The “Fashion Police” writers went on strike April 17 against the E! Network.
UPDATE: Winship responded to Rivers’ latest statement, telling Variety, “All that needs to be asked is that if Ms. Rivers is as supportive as she claims, why did she make unprofessional and hurtful comments about her writers, calling them schmucks, idiots, and a______s?”