This bit of news is from Nikki Finke’s most excellent Hollywood Deadline blog. She made her mark covering last year’s WGA strike, and she reports here that WGA picketers were handcuffed by security guards and turned over to the LAPD outside of the Kodak theater on Thursday as the American Idol Hollywood Rounds were taking place inside the theater.
The WGA would like to bring the writers for American Idol and other reality shows into the union. As it is, writers for those shows don’t currently enjoy the same benefits and protections as their brethren who write for films and TV shows:
The Writers Guild, West, is considering bringing a lawsuit to protect its First Amendment rights. And I think every Hollywood guild member should boycott this hell-hole of a shopping mall that houses the Oscars. That’s because a group of WGAW staffers were subjected to …citizen arrest Thursday morning at the Hollywood & Highland complex. At about 9:00 A.M. Thursday, Hollywood & Highland Center security guards abruptly surrounded, detained, and handcuffed WGAW guild organizers Laura Watson (see photo left) and Terence Long, and Assistant Executive Director Jeff Hermanson (see photo below). So what were the activists doing to get themselves hauled off? Simply passing out leaflets during American Idol’s week of Hollywood auditions there and informing the public that …FremantleMedia refuses to treat its writers fairly.
Security guards making citizen’s arrests? WTF??? I’d tell those assclowns to get their f*cking hands off me. But it does make for some purty pictures (check them out on Nikki’s blog) and some nice publicity for the guild!
The guild members were turned over to the LAPD and later released after posting bond.
Regarding the potential lawsuit, precedent has been set in cases like this:
The California Supreme Court has held that the state constitution guarantees the right of expression of ideas in shopping malls on the grounds that they’re the contemporary equivalent of the town square. The WGAW notes that other labor unions and community groups have held public actions such as leafleting and picketing inside the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex without incident.
The guild vows to fight on:
…We will continue to exercise our First Amendment rights despite the heavy-handed treatment we received, said the WGAW’s Hermanson. …The public has a right to know that the top-rated show on television does not provide their writers with basic necessities like health care.
I wonder if the guild is planning to picket outside of the CBS studios when the show goes live in February?
I’ll be keeping an eye on this story.