It’s no secret that an uncomfortable percentage of residents that have been transferred out from the Motion Picture Home have withered and died. Some may have you believe that death is an inevitable part of life and at their advanced age, well … it was bound to happen no matter where they found themselves. It’s the circle of life in Woodland Hills where Dr. Lion King has been all but de-fanged, de-clawed and gelded.
He will soon leave the pride. We will make sure that he does.
Others may point out that the very nature of a new environment, and all that comes with the move, is jarring and life-threatening to anyone in the advanced years that our residents find themselves in.
I tend to buy that argument. It makes more sense to me.
Let’s avoid the debate on transfer trauma, I mean — who cares at this point? The warnings were sent to the Motion Picture administration about the likelihood that some residents may not survive being kicked out or willingly transferred from their "home." That warning was not heeded, and as you would expect, we’ve lost some very beautiful brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers and loved ones. Possibly needlessly. What a tragedy.
Let’s instead look at the positive effects of transfer trauma. In this case, let’s look at how beneficial the transfer and how minimal the trauma would be to the future of motion picture and television health care if Dr. David Tillman and Nurse Seth Ellis were summarily removed from their positions of power. There would still hope for the continuum of care at the Motion Picture Home.
As I have been warned, I must tread lightly here. They are on the defense — and their ranks are splintered. We’ve gone way past the date that Seth Ellis targeted for the closing of the Long Term Care center. The families and concerned industry members are more resolute than ever that the facility will never close. The motion picture and television industry is behind us. The Teamsters are behind us. SAG is on record as being against the closure, and true to the nature of these fine folk — a Christmas tree has been placed in the foyer of the Skirball entry compliments of the SAG Seniors Committee and SAG Foundation.
Those in the administration who finally see the truth of the situation, and who recognize the momentum the families and concerned industry members have, are turning the situation around; they are beginning to "get it."
With that knowledge comes an uneasy awakening that they have been trapped on the wrong side of an important social issue.
Once the smoke clears, what side you are on will be important. Please take a note of that. There is a right and wrong side to this issue.
Back to the subject of transfer trauma, and how I see it working in this situation:
However tragic a transition may be to Messrs. Tillman and Ellis personally, I believe the sun will appear from behind the clouds in true Hollywood fashion upon their departure. The notion of ‘successful aging’ which smelled when first uttered by Ellis has rotted to the point where even I can’t stand to write about it. The new paradigm that excludes the most sick and handicapped of our residents from the property has lost the enthusiastic support of the minions that once heralded its unveiling.
Ask Kevin Spacey, a member of the Foundation Committee, what he thinks about the closing of the LTC. His voice represents many on the board who have not spoken out yet.
Their departure will, to my thinking, return the continuum of care that guarantees a place for residents at the Motion Picture Home no matter what stage of life they find themselves in. They will remain at home on campus, with their friends and spouses, and the caregivers that know and love them.
The opulent offices, pay raises and hired security goons that support the lifestyles of these guys were enough to even cross the eyes of supporters who couldn’t justify the expense to enquiring journalists, much less to themselves. The heightened security on campus, the specter of a fake police car in the parking lot put there for no other reason than to intimidate residents and family members, the talk of shabby treatment and shabbier surroundings in the care centers are all symptoms of a regime that simply must end.
Transfer Tillman and Ellis, and transfer them now. I feel they are the cancer that is eating at our beloved MPTF, and I’m not the only one.
There are those in the administration that I hold in the highest regard. They know who they are. They are the ones who will breathe a giant sigh of relief when we return the stewardship of the Motion Picture Home to humanistic leaders.
We’ve been accused of wanting to destroy the fund, of wanting to dismantle all that is the Motion Picture Home. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love the Motion Picture Home for what it has done for my mother, and what it has done for my friends’ loved ones.
That’s why we fight, and that’s why we want Tillman and Ellis to leave.
For the good of the MPTF. For the future of motion picture and television healthcare for everyone. We want them out.