SAG-AFTRA filed lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles against AT&T over “millions” in residuals and other compensation it says are owed to actors who appeared on the Stephen King novel-turned-television series “Mr. Mercedes.”
“Mr. Mercedes” aired on AT&T’s now-defunct Audience Network from 2017-19.
AT&T has denied that any further money is owed and asserts that it over-paid to union members. “In response to requests by the Guild claiming that monies were owed, AT&T mistakenly sent the Guild approximately $700,000 (“Unearned Payment”). AT&T informed SAG-AFTRA of the mistaken payment and demanded return of the Unearned Payment. AT&T also sent the Guild a letter, explaining the situation and demanding repayment of the Unearned Payment. The Guild refused.”
In the filing, SAG-AFTRA “seeks to recover the millions of dollars in compensation that AT&T is attempting to pocket, at the expense of the actors who provided the talent, long hours, and hard work critical to the creation of the popular
television series Mr. Mercedes (the “Series”).”
The union is bringing forth the complaint “to ensure that AT&T does not gain by its callous gamesmanship, through compelling completion of the arbitration or, in the alternative, obtaining payment of the outstanding Residuals due to the Performers.”
“Mr. Mercedes” is based on the best-selling Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King, and “follows a retired detective who is tormented by a serial killer (Brady Hartsfield, AKA Mr. Mercedes) through a series of letters and e-mails, causing him to set out on a dangerous and potentially felonious crusade to protect his loved ones and himself.”
SAG-AFTRA is asking the court to order AT&T to either “submit to grievance and arbitration” or pay all outstanding money including court costs. In its own paperwork, AT&T is asking the court to dismiss SAG-AFTRA’s suit with prejudice and to compel Sonar Entertainment, the show’s producer, to pay back the money AT&T says it overpaid.
“Mr. Mercedes” starred Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Kelly Lynch, Jharrel Jerome, Mary-Louise Parker, Holland Taylor, Justine Lupe, Breeda Wool, Scott Lawrence, Ann Cusack, Jack Huston, Tessa Ferrer, Maximiliano Hernández and Nancy Travis.
Deadline first reported the news.