Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tyler Perry: Hypocrite & Union Buster

Found over on Deadline Hollywood:

This season, scripted television programming will consist of about 150 shows employing 1,200 writers.

Of that universe, 149 shows and 1,193 writers will produce shows covered by the Writers Guild’s Minimum Basic Agreement. The MBA guarantees minimum compensation, residuals, health coverage, and pension in addition to other benefits.

The big exception? Tyler Perry's House of Payne and the seven writers who, collectively, played a key role in producing over 100 episodes of one of television's most successful sitcoms.

Right now, these seven writers are in a struggle with you, the producer of House of Payne, to extend Guild coverage to the show. This past Monday, after months of negotiations with the Guild, four of the writers were abruptly and illegally fired because of their efforts to secure the same minimums and benefits as their peers.

We all know that producing television is a tough and uncertain business. But some things are simply not acceptable.

We have a simple ask – reinstate the writers and make a fair deal with WGA.

Rich Appel, The Cleveland Show
Lee Aronsohn, Two & a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory
Rene Balcer, Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Alan Ball, True Blood
Carol Barbee, Swingtown
Carter Bays, How I Met Your Mother
Ed Bernero, Criminal Minds
Jenny Bicks, Men in Trees, Sex and the City
John Bowman, Frank TV, Martin, In Living Color
Shane Brennan, NCIS
Marc Cherry, Desperate Housewives
Alan Cohen, Held Up
Elizabeth Craft, Dollhouse
Bob Daily, Desperate Housewives
Elias Davis, WGAW Secretary Treasurer
Gary Dontzig, Murphy Brown, Suddenly Susan, Becker, Hannah Montana
Sarah Fain, Dollhouse
Kevin Falls, Journeyman
Michele Fazekas, Reaper
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Larry Gelbart, M*A*S*H
Mike Gibbons, Talk Show with Spike Feresten
David A. Goodman, Family Guy
Glenn Gordon Caron, Medium, Now and Again, Moonlighting
John Gray, Ghost Whisperer
Walon Green, Canterbury’s Law
Marc Guggenheim, Eli Stone
Hart Hanson, Bones
Warren Hutcherson, Everybody Hates Chris, The Bernie Mac Show
Michael Jamin, Glenn Martin
Al Jean, The Simpsons
Mike Kelley, Swingtown
Anne Kenney, Greek
Bill Lawrence, Scrubs, Spin City
Michael Leeson, Bill Engvall Show, The Cosby Show
Steve Levitan, Just Shoot Me
Chuck Lorre, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory
Bill Martin, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Grounded for Life
Chris McGuire, Mind of Mencia
Carol Mendelsohn, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY
Ted Mulkerin, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Peter Murietta, Wizards of Waverly Place
Marti Noxon, Mad Men, Private Practice
John Peaslee, Operating Instructions
Steve Peterman, Hannah Montana
Clyde Phillips, Dexter
Judd Pillot, Operating Instructions
Bill Prady, The Big Bang Theory
Matt Pyken, Knight Rider
Michael Rauch, Love Monkey, Beautiful People, Life is Wild
Andrew Reich, Friends
Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice
Shawn Ryan, The Shield, The Unit
David Sacks, Lewis Black's Root of All Evil
Steve Skrovan, ’Til Death
Mike Schiff, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Grounded for Life
Robin Schiff, former WGAW Board Member
Gary Scott Thompson, Knight Rider, Las Vegas
Chris Sheridan, Family Guy
Amy Sherman-Palladino, Gilmore Girls
David Simkins, Warehouse 13, The Dresden Files, The Book of Daniel
Robert Singer, Supernatural
Dan Sterling, The Sarah Silverman Program
Matt Tarses, Worst Week
Alison Taylor, Just Jordan
Betsy Thomas, My Boys
Eric Tuchman, Kyle XY
Marc Warren, Cory in the House
Michael Warren, Happy Days, Family Matters, Hanging with Mr. Cooper
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men
Dan Wilcox, M*A*S*H, Newhart, Growing Pains, WGAW Board Member
Larry Wilmore, former WGAW Board Member, The Bernie Mac Show

Wow. He enjoys the benefits of Directors Guild of America membership, but fires writers for trying to organize under the WGA?

Can't trust union members who are, also, producers. Seems they don't stay true to their union brothers and sisters.


  1. Well, good for him. STanding up to a crooked institution like the WGA, let's hear it for the little guy!

  2. Two comments in for the requisite Dan Slott slam, for no less than a grammatical error. Classy.

    As far as this whole WGA thing - I can't say as I'm surprised. I'm just wondering how long this will take before it transmogrifies into a race issue.

  3. Anon: Nothing crooked about health benefits and a better wage. Which is what the writers were trying to get when Perry fired them.

    Zod: Wasn't much of a slam, Zod, but I deleted it as it has nothing to do with this topic. Also deleted the one about McDonald's and "Joe".

    As far as the race issue, it has come up to a degree already. Mostly because people are using this to launch into diatribes about how bad they think his stereotypical characters are. Other than that, the only color that has come up is green, as in how he's abandoned his principles (at least in this case) to have more of that color in his grasp.

  4. Having never seen a Tyler Perry movie or watched an episode of his show, I can't comment on whether or not the characters are "stereotypical." But, I will say, I'm not surprised at all to find people using this as an excuse to go that route.

    His Atlanta studio opening was attended by some pretty big name folks - Will Smith, Oprah, etc. - I'm wondering what side they'll fall on in this argument.

  5. Zod: You're lucky. I've been dragged to a few. In all honesty, I can't see anything past being beaten over the head with the female empowerment message in all of the movies.

    All three I've been roped into seeing have an almost paint-by-numbers transformation of a woman who feels helpless to a strong woman taking full control of their lives, with a few decent jokes sprinkled throughout.

  6. That's about what I take away from the trailers. I get a strong cookie cutter vibe from everything he produces, & considering the frequency with which his material strolls its way into theatres, there's nothing to really disuage me from that view. I appreciate what he's trying to do with his films (by portraying African Americans in cinema in roles other than gang-bangers or athletes) but the sameness of his work seems like he's phoning it in for a paycheck.

    I'm surprised he has a role in the upcoming Trek prequel - he doesn't really strike me as a "Trekkie," & I haven't seen anything in his body of work to suggest that he's attempting to appeal to that audience.

    As far as the original issue goes - while I'm glad that there are groups such as the WGA to act in the favor of the "little guy," I've generally had a unfavorable view of labor unions in the current market. Do I think they have a place & a purpose? Absolutley. Do I think that place & purpose has been lost along the way due to greed? Absolutley.

    When unions worked for the common man, they were great. Unions as they function now drive up the cost of goods & force jobs overseas due to increasing labor costs (& yes, I'm speaking from experience.) Union leaders today seem more interested in getting paid to not work than they do with actually protecting workers.

  7. Zod: As you know, we don't see completely eye to eye on unions. I always say that a union is no better or worse than the majority of its membership. Leadership is elected. Contracts are voted on.

    I think recent union membership just sees it as a way to lock in a high wage without having to do too much hard work.

    And I think the jobs are relocating more because of the loosening of trade restrictions. Without NAFTA and other FTAs, companies couldn't move their jobs so easily.

    Which could get me into how tax breaks for large corporations don't help the average American, since they create more jobs in foreign countries than in America...but I won't do that. ;)

  8. Spaced and forgot to add this after the "recent union membership" line:

    Back when unions were desperately needed and someone might try to break your legs for organizing one, people took pride in the concept. It was almost like a religion. But as those that worked hard to attain the protections afforded slowly left the workforce, you're left with a larger number of people that don't appreciate the union for what it is meant to be.

  9. We pretty much see eye to eye. Here's why:

    "I think recent union membership just sees it as a way to lock in a high wage without having to do too much hard work."


    "Back when unions were desperately needed and someone might try to break your legs for organizing one, people took pride in the concept. It was almost like a religion. But as those that worked hard to attain the protections afforded slowly left the workforce, you're left with a larger number of people that don't appreciate the union for what it is meant to be."

    And again, Amen.

    Don't mistake my contempt for how unions curently function & operate to my respect for how & why they were originally formed. I think that unions, as they operate today, are more of a detriment than a benefit & have turned into a money-making scheme as opposed to a worker's benefit group.

    Too many American's today are looking for a hand-out as opposed to having to work for a living, & the unions have begun catering to that. You don't have to look any further than the automotive industry to see the kind of detrimental impact that poorly run unions can have (note - I said poorly run. Effectively & properly run unions can only benefit both the employer & the employee. Good luck finding an honest labor union leader these days though.)

  10. I guess the only part where we aren't in lockstep is on whether the unions are catering. isn't that I don't think unions resemble the lowest common denominator's work ethic. It's whether you can consider it as an entity catering to it when they're elected.

    Much like our federal government, if the union sucks, it is largely because of the short-sightedness and stupidity of its electorate, rather than the system or those that serve as its moving parts.

    Like the recent bailout deal. Were either of the plans perfect? No. But the second one was even worse than the first. Why didn't the first pass? Because a few people who kept hearing the "Wall Street Vs Main Street" bullshit believed it was only going to help rich folks who screwed up. By the time the news cycle pushed out the idea that bailing out Wall Street DOES, in fact, help Main Street, legislators were already putting bits into the deal to buy votes they needed to try to right the economic ship.

    Too many union members are just as ill-informed and apathetic as American voters during a Presidential or general election.


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