Exclusive: AFTRA Clears Trustee David Browde After ‘Sagwatch’ Investigation

Browde is accused of running the labor-guild blog, but AFTRA says it found “no evidence suggesting any infractions took place”


The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has cleared trustee David Browde after an investigation into his alleged connection to the labor-union news site Sagwatch.net.

AFTRA launched the investigation on Oct. 5, after TheWrap reported on complaints from several Screen Actors Guild members, who believe that Browde is running the Sagwatch site and inappropriately exploiting his access to sensitive information about SAG.

But after a two-month investigation, AFTRA officials said Wednesday they could find no evidence that Browde violated "no-raiding" and confidentiality guidelines.

"Based on the internal investigation — which was conducted by outside counsel to AFTRA — the review found no evidence suggesting any infractions took place," and AFTRA statement read. "This situation is a reminder that while allegations of misconduct are to be taken seriously, public accusations which call into question the credibility of an individual before a proper investigation can be conducted, risk compromising a member's right to due process and are to be avoided."

AFTRA said details of the investigation will be revealed to the group's national board at its next meeting in January.

In September, a SAG member — who wouldn't reveal his name — conducted an independent investigation in which he allegedly linked Browde to owning the Sagwatch.net domain name.

Meanwhile, progressive SAG members have complained that sensitive information from joint SAG-AFTRA meetings has frequently been posted immediately on Sagwatch.net.

Despite the fact that he was under investigation, Browde has maintained an active profile within AFTRA, even attending an exclusive joint AFTRA-SAG meeting two weeks ago in New York to discuss possible merger fo the two guilds.

Members of SAG's progressive Membership First coalition have denigrated the AFTRA investigation from the start, with one telling TheWrap earlier this week, "I would think that if they were seriously investigating a member, they would not be invited to sensitive meetings."


More to come…