SAG vote draws charges

Incumbent prez threatens to sue Performers' Alliance members

Things have gone from bad to worse in the Screen Actors Guild election, which wraps up Friday with incumbent Richard Masur and veteran actor Bill Daniels going head-to-head for the union’s presidency.

Through his lawyer, Masur sent a letter to six members of the opposing slate, the Performers’ Alliance, accusing them of launching a “malicious, calculated and despicable campaign of libel and slander” against him, and threatening to sue if they do not desist. Daniels was not a target of the letter, unlike his wife, Bonnie Bartlett.

Masur spells out the charges that he said are being leveled against him by “conspirators” on Performance Alliance’s Web site, including the notion that he “gets kickbacks from producers,” has a “scam selling vouchers” to actors, committed a crime in a National Executive Committee election, and is “using union funds to pay people off.”

A lawyer for Gordon Drake, one of the six, wrote back that he had reviewed the alliance’s Web site and its archives and found that “none of the statements listed in your letter have been published on the Web site.”

“Someone, somewhere, called Masur a ‘criminal’ and his rage over being criticized has now led to a witch hunt reminiscent of some of the darkest days in Hollywood,” Drake said in a statement.

On Monday, Drake filed a National Labor Relations Board complaint against Masur, alleging that, by threatening to sue, he is constraining Drake from exercising his right to debate issues in a union election.