E! Networks says "personal attacks" on the show's host are "grossly unfair and inaccurate"
Striking “Fashion Police” writers on Tuesday released a video taking the show’s host Joan Rivers to task for not standing up for them in their battle to join the Writers Guild.
The two-minute, 35-second video is titled "Dear Joan: Can we Tallk?" and features several of the nine writers telling of their good relationship with Rivers prior to the dispute, and how disappointed they are that she hasn’t backed them in their dispute with the E! Network.
“The fact that she’s not just a star, but she’s a member of the Writers Guild, and she won’t support fellow Writers Guild members is just astonishing,” Ned Rice says in the video. “It’s just a basic fairness issue.”
The writers have been on strike since April 17, after expressing a desire to organize and join the Writers Guild of America West. The writers want the network to recognize the WGA as their bargaining representative, while the network is insisting that a National Labor Relations Board election be held first.
The E! Network, which is owned by Comcast, issued a statement in response:
"Joan Rivers has been and remains emphatically supportive of the writers. Her company does not produce Fashion Police nor set the compensation of E! Networks Productions’ writers. The personal attacks on Joan are grossly unfair and inaccurate."
The writers maintain that demanding an election before negotiating is a stalling tactic, since they've made their desire to be in the guild clear by signing union cards.
“Requiring an NLRB administered election is a fair and important part of the process,” the network has said in earlier statements.
The network on Tuesday reiterated earlier statements, which said it was not anti-WGA, and noted that it airs others shows (“The Soup” and “Chelsea Lately”) that employ WGA workers that participated in NLRB elections.
Weeks before going on strike, the writers filed $1.5 million in wage and hour claims with the California Division of Labor Standard Enforcement against the network and Rivers’ production company, Rugby Productions. They are seeking payment for unpaid regular and overtime hours worked.
That dispute is moving forward separately from the representation issue. A settlement meeting held at the behest of the state failed to result break the impasse, so both sides are awaiting a date for a hearing on the writers’ claims.