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SAG-AFTRA Accuses Academy of ‘Intimidation’ of Awards Presenters

SAG-AFTRA is accusing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of intimidation in trying to limit actors from presenting on awards shows other than the Oscars.

The union leveled the accusation on Monday, asserting that AMPAS is using “extraordinary and unwarranted pressure” on actors, adding that it is “outrageous” that SAG-AFTRA members are being pressured to not present at their own union’s awards show.

“Essentially, they’re being told that if they present on another televised awards show, they won’t get to present on the Oscars,” a source close to the situation told Variety.

The SAG Awards will be held on Jan. 27 at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium, and air on TNT and TBS. That show has not yet announced its presenters, other than host Megan Mullally and Tom Hanks presenting Alan Alda with the SAG Life Achievement Award.

A veteran publicist said the dispute dates back several years, with AMPAS applying pressure on actors to limit their appearances at other awards shows.

AMPAS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The dispute is another headache for AMPAS following the departure of Kevin Hart as host of the Feb. 24 Oscarcast due to homophobic tweets.

Here’s SAG-AFTRA’s statement:

“SAG-AFTRA has fielded numerous requests to respond to assertions that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exerts extraordinary and unwarranted pressure on talent to hold them from appearing at other award presentations.

We have received multiple reports of these activities and have experienced firsthand the Academy’s graceless pressure tactics and attempts to control the awards show talent pipeline. Awards season is a very special time when actors and actresses are being appropriately celebrated and recognized for the outstanding quality of their work. We would expect the Academy to honor these goals.

This self-serving intimidation of SAG-AFTRA members is meant to limit their opportunities to be seen and honor the work of their fellow artists throughout the season. Actors should be free to accept any offer to participate in industry celebrations.

The apparent attempt by the Academy to keep our members from presenting on their own awards show is utterly outrageous and unacceptable. The SAG Awards supports their union’s operations and important charitable assistance programs that provide valuable support to performers.

We call on the Academy to cease this inappropriate action.”

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