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Joan Rivers’ Trial Board Tapped For ‘Fashion Police’ Allegations

Strike by writers began April 17

The Writers Guild of America East has taken a step toward disciplining “Fashion Police’s” Joan Rivers over alleged rule violations by selecting three unnamed members for a trial board.

The guild had announced July 10 that its Council had voted for Rivers, a lifetime member of the WGA East, to face a trial board over allegations she violated the union’s rules by writing and by performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show, which is not under WGA jurisdiction. Guild members are not allowed to work on non-union shows.

The trial board’s finding will be sent to the WGA East Council, which can affirm or overturn the ruling. “Fashion Police” writers have been on strike since April 17 over the network’s refusal to meet the WGA’s demand for jurisdiction over the series. The punishment could include Rivers becoming the first member ever expelled from the WGA East.  Rivers has been notified about the hearing but no date has been set.

Rivers has not commented, but her manager has brushed off the WGA’s action and portrayed the dispute as a fight  between the network and the guild.

The writers have 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 said that it will not grant the writers union recognition without an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. The WGA has responded by asserting that the requirement of an NLRB election is a stalling tactic.

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