×

SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris Accused of Election Violations

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris has been accused of violating union rules in her re-election campaign — and has issued a strong denial in response.

Attorney Robert Allen, in a letter sent Monday on behalf of unnamed union members, said Carteris had allegedly used insider information to take credit for SAG-AFTRA’s new deal with Netflix and accused her of using union resources to promote her candidacy via official SAG-AFTRA videos. Allen said if Carteris’ name isn’t removed from the ballot within 10 days, he’ll file a federal lawsuit to seek an injunction and recover damages.

Election ballots were mailed Monday to dues-current members and will be tabulated on Aug. 28. SAG-AFTRA represents about 160,000 performers. Carteris faces four challengers — Matthew Modine, who heads the Membership First faction; Jane Austin, the current secretary-treasurer; Abraham Justice; and Queen Alljahye Searles. Carteris blamed Membership First and said the allegations were “baseless.”

“Here we go again — every time we have an election we can count on Membership First or their associates to file some baseless charge that accomplishes nothing except to burn up even more of our members’ dues money,” she said. “This is just another cynical ploy that will come to nothing and we can add it to their tab of over a million dollars and counting the union has already spent dealing with their ridiculous stunts.”

Carteris is part of the Unite for Strength slate, which has been in charge of the union leadership since 2009. She replaced the late Ken Howard as president when he died in 2016, then defeated Membership First’s Esai Morales in 2017.

In a letter to SAG-AFTRA general counsel Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Allen said, “Ms. Carteris is campaigning using what we can only assume to be insider and highly confidential information that she would be prohibited from revealing, and then used her current position of power to cause the facts underlying that highly confidential information to occur. In sum, Ms. Carteris is cheating in an attempt to get re-elected.”

The letter said Carteris claimed in her campaign statement that she had “negotiated a direct, comprehensive agreement with Netflix that eliminates free bargaining in low budget SVOD, improves protections against outrageous exclusivity terms/options, and for the first time covers performance capture.”

The missive asserted that the deadline to submit election statements was on June 28 but that the deal was not presented for approval to the national board until July 20.

“How did Ms. Carteris know, prior to June 28 when she submitted her statement, that the Netflix deal would be approved prior to a National Board vote?” the letter asked.

Allen’s letter also asserted that the Netflix agreement should have been submitted to the membership for ratification. It also accused Carteris of directing SAG-AFTRA funds and resources to help promote her campaign, including the creation of self-promoting videos and their display on the SAG-AFTRA website and throughout the common membership areas at the Wilshire Boulevard headquarters in Los Angeles.

“We demand that Ms. Carteris be deemed ineligible to run in the upcoming election and that her name be stricken from the ballot,” the letter said. “Further, we demand a fair and thorough independent investigation into Ms. Carteris’ fiduciary duty violations. Furthermore, pursuant to Section 431(c)of the LMRDA, we demand access to SAG-AFTRA’s financial books and records to ascertain the extent to which SAG-AFTRA funds have been improperly used to help finance and support Ms. Carteris’ campaign.”

Allen is a partner at the Los Angeles law firm Pierce Bainbridge Beck Price & Hecht LLP.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content