A week into the voting period for SAG-AFTRA leadership, incumbent president Gabrielle Carteris and top opposing candidate Matthew Modine have stepped up their attacks on each other in a pair of campaign videos accusing the other of misleading guild members.
In a video posted on his Twitter page, Modine said that Carteris “has been asked a number of legitimate questions that concern the welfare of our members. Instead of answering the questions, she has responded with false and misleading accusations.”
Among the issues Modine has criticized Carteris on include failing to address a disparity in pensions between Screen Actors Guild members and AFTRA members, with AFTRA members getting smaller pensions despite the merger between the two unions in 2012. Modine has also accused Carteris of failing to properly address claims of sexual harassment and assault in the wake of the #MeToo wave and failing to create an environment where victims can feel safe in speaking out about their abuse.
— Matthew Modine (@MatthewModine) August 4, 2019
“I’m happy to meet with Ms. Carteris in an open forum to discuss these issues because our membership deserves a good-faith conversation and answers to the questions,” Modine said.
In her own video, Carteris accused Modine and the Membership First platform of attempting “to distract you from their terrible record of failures that seriously hurt our union.” She contrasted the contract negotiations her leadership made for commercial actors and video game voice actors, as well as the recently signed deal with Netflix, against what she called the “failed leadership” of Membership First.
“[Membership First] created a very large and very negative impact,” Carteris said. “They failed to negotiate numerous contracts, and the failure they most want to distract you from…is their disastrous handling of the TV and theatrical contracts when they were last in charge. They left SAG without TV and theatrical contracts for over a year, resulting in earnings and benefit contribution losses of over $100 million.”
The dueling videos come after a week in which Carteris was accused by a lawyer representing unnamed guild members of violating election rules by using insider information to include the Netflix deal in her election statement, even though candidates were required to send in their statements three weeks before the deal’s completion was officially announced.
The lawyer, Robert Allen of L.A. law firm Pierce Bainbridge, threatened to file a federal lawsuit to seek an injunction if Carteris was not removed from the ballot. Carteris has denied the accusations, calling it a “cynical ploy.”
Ballots were mailed to SAG-AFTRA members on July 29 and will be tabulated by the guild on Aug. 28.