SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher was criticized on Monday after it became public that she traveled to Italy for a Dolce & Gabbana fashion event over the weekend despite the guild’s ongoing contract talks with studios.
The trip became publicly known after Kim Kardashian, who also attended the event, posted a photo with Drescher on Instagram.
Guild reps didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap, but in a statement to The Ankler, SAG-AFTRA said, “President Drescher is working as a brand ambassador for Dolce and Gabbana on location in Italy. This was a commitment fully known to the negotiating committee. She has been in negotiations every day either in person or via videoconference. President Drescher is managing a physically demanding schedule across three time zones, overseeing negotiations and working on location daily as well as managing her parents’ needs in FL. She is returning to the states and will be on the ground in LA tomorrow, and will continue to chair our negotiations.”
SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) were unable to reach a new deal before their existing contract expired on June 30. A strike was at least temporarily averted when negotiations were extended through July 12. But on Monday the guild sent strike rules out to members, a sign it believes the extended talks may not succeed.
And whether the negotiating committee was aware of the trip, it seems it wasn’t widely known to rank and file SAG-AFTRA members, judging from the reactions online from those who at best considered the trip in poor taste.
But members of the still-on-strike Writers Guild of America also called Drescher out.
On June 24, SAG-AFTRA leaders including Drescher released a video expressing optimism about the progress of talks with the AMPTP. And it seemed when the groups extended the deadline for a new deal from June 30 to July 12, it meant a new contract was likely, given that extensions in 2014 and 2017 also ended with new contracts.
But sources with knowledge of the talks tell TheWrap that the talks have bogged down over streaming residuals. SAG-AFTRA members want a new residual system based on viewership data, information streamers currently do not share with creators.
The Directors Guild of America negotiated a significant residual increase in its recently ratified contract, but viewership was not accounted for in that deal.