Streaming, Health Care and #MeToo: SAG-AFTRA Candidate Fran Drescher Lays Out Her Vision

”The Nanny“ alum looks to succeed Gabrielle Carteris with outgoing president’s endorsement

As ballots have been sent out to SAG-AFTRA members to elect their next leadership team, “Hotel Transylvania” and “The Nanny” star Fran Drescher is hoping to succeed Gabrielle Carteris as the president of the actors guild, leading it during a period where wages for streaming films and TV shows is expected to become a white-hot issue for all of Hollywood’s labor unions.

“It’s frustrating to not know how well a show does on a streaming platform and that our members are not benefiting equitably,” Drescher told TheWrap. “A ratio of monies paid to a member must remain in direct correlation with the deal made with the studio. I think if the studio makes money, the member should too and the health plan needs to be paid into.”

Drescher is running with the Unite For Strength slate, picking up the faction’s mantel that has been held by Carteris through her tenure as president starting in April 2016. Along with Carteris, Drescher and UFS have been endorsed by high-profile members like Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Rosario Dawson and J.K. Simmons. Until September 2, members will be voting between either Drescher or “Stranger Things” actor Matthew Modine, who is running on the Membership First slate.

Along with streaming residuals, Drescher discussed her plans for the continued development of intimacy coordinators for nude and sex scenes and addressed criticisms made by Modine and Membership First about how Carteris and guild leadership handled changes made to the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan. Drescher pointed out that the health plan’s trustees, who were named in a lawsuit filed by 10 guild members this past winter, operate the plan’s finances independently of the SAG-AFTRA president and that Carteris and her team introduced new health plan options for senior members through the AFL-CIO Mutual Benefit Fund.

“Do we have a perfect situation? No. Was the health plan at risk of going bankrupt within a couple of years when the industry shut down because of the pandemic and producers stopped paying employer contributions into the fund, yet massive claims were continuing to be made, quickly exhausting the reserve? Yes,” she said. “If we make a concerted effort to become a much healthier union body, we can negotiate better policies for lower premiums because of fewer claims. And with imaginative new streams of revenue we can show greater financial support for those who are in need.” 

Read the full email interview with Fran Drescher below. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Jeremy Fuster

Box Office Reporter • • Twitter: @jeremyfuster