This article was corrected on Feb. 21, 2001.
The Screen Actors Guild has banned from membership for five years an actress who tried to join the union despite having shot more than 20 non-union commercials during SAG’s strike against advertisers.
The guild’s membership application review committee for the Hollywood branch, in its first case since its creation, ruled that Christine Blackburn would be kept out of SAG for the maximum period allowable. The spots included a national ad for Kia that ran repeatedly.
Blackburn’s active defiance of SAG made her among the best known and most disliked strikebreakers during the six-month work stoppage.
“I am amazed that someone who crossed the picket line over 20 times would then turn around and want all the benefits of being a member that came from all our pain and suffering,” said SAG member Peaches Johnson, who participated in dozens of demonstrations during the strike. “She finally got some justice,” Johnson added.
“I am confident that I echo the sentiments of many of my fellow members when I say that I am jubilating at the news that Christine Blackburn has been punished adequately by our guild,” SAG member Brian Hamilton said in an Internet posting. “Bravo!! This does more than one may imagine for morale among our membership.”
Blackburn, in a statement issued through her attorney, did not apologize for performing struck work but instead claimed that she has adhered to SAG regulations since becoming eligible for membership last August through working on an industrial film. The Los Angeles-based actress also claimed that she subsequently turned down four non-union jobs and stopped auditioning for such work “in furtherance of the strike efforts of the union.
“I have always desired to be a member of the Guild and believe deeply in a collective union for actors,” Blackburn said. “My actions since becoming SAG-eligible evidence this conviction.”
Blackburn also complained that her punishment was more severe than that suffered by SAG members who broke ranks during the strike. SAG trial boards have found seven members guilty of performing struck work and fined both Tiger Woods and Elizabeth Hurley $100,000 each without suspensions.
“This result is neither fair nor equitable,” Blackburn said.
The thesp did not indicate if she will seek legal action against SAG, but she cannot appeal the ruling to the union. The practical effect of the ban is that SAG signatories are urged not to employ her through a waiver since she is no longer eligible for membership.
SAG said it is still investigating more than 1,500 possible strikebreakers.