Will reality TV stars unionize? SAG-AFTRA supports Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel’s efforts at The Real Housewives of New York City to secure union protection for reality TV stars have taken a step forward.

Hollywood actors’ guild SAG-AFTRA said Thursday it had held discussions with Frankel’s attorney Bryan Freedman “over the issue of the treatment of reality actors,” who some say have been exploited and unfairly treated by the entertainment industry.

Frankel, inspired by the walkouts by writers and actors that brought Hollywood to a standstill this summer, recently floated the idea that cast members on reality shows should go on strike too. She has hired high-profile lawyers to support her cause to demand protections for reality stars, including minimum wages.

In a statement, SAG-AFTRA encouraged reality cast members to reach out to the guild “to start a new avenue of union reporting.”

“We stand ready to support Bethenny Frankel, Bryan Freedman and [attorney] “Fighting alongside reality cast members and our members in the fray, Mark Geragos is fed up with studios and production companies trying to bypass the Union to exploit the talent they depend on to make their products,” said SAG- AFTRA.

The guild represents reality stars and can cover them under its network code of conduct agreement, depending on the production structure and the performers involved, SAG-AFTRA said.

“Networks and studios have nurtured, nurtured, created and nurtured an environment that benefits from reality cast members being subjected to appalling working conditions, little or no pay, illegal contracts and actual criminal behavior,” Freedman said in an emailed post Explanation. “SAG-AFTRA’s iconic commitment today to join Bethenny Frankel and other reality cast members in this fight is a game changer in making clear to these profiteers that financial gain is not a sufficient justification for the heinous abuse of vulnerable workers.”

NBCUniversal, which runs the “Real Housewives” network Bravo, referred the Times to a statement released Friday that said it is committed to providing “a safe and respectful workplace” for the reality show’s cast and crew to maintain.

“To begin with, we require our outside production partners to have appropriate workplace policies and training in place,” NBCUniversal said in its statement. “When complaints are brought to our attention, we work with our manufacturing partners to ensure that appropriate timely action is taken, including investigations, medical and/or psychological support and other remedial actions that may be warranted, such as: B. Personnel changes.” .”

The move comes amid two Hollywood strikes as film and TV writers and actors push demands in a new agreement with studios represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. AMPTP represents companies such as Amazon Studios, Netflix and Walt Disney Co.

Authors and actors are demanding better payment for streaming shows and safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence. The WGA has been on strike since early May, and artists joined the picket line in mid-July. As production of scripted content pauses, broadcasters have relied on unscripted series to fill the gap.

Last month, Frankel took to social media to urge reality stars to fight for union protection. Frankel’s suggestions included that the talent should be paid at least $5,000 per episode when a show airs, and that the talent should receive a 10% raise for each season. If the show is a success, it should be negotiated or the talent may walk away, according to a video she posted Instagram.

“Reality stars are the stepchildren, the losers, the mules, the packhorses that the entertainment industry will now rely on to carry the water and do the heavy lifting when real stars, real A-list Hollywood, come on.” standing on stage.” Strike,” Frankel said in another video, also released last month.

More and more reality stars are speaking out about their abuse on shows. For example, Love Is Blind alumnus Nick Thompson, a former vice president of software, said he had trouble finding work.

“I can’t get a job because people don’t take me seriously,” Thompson told dem Daily mail. He said the show ruined his life. “I wish I could just go back to the nice life I’ve built instead of wondering if my mortgage will pay off.”

Thompson said filming took place 18 to 20 hours a day, and after that he was locked in his hotel room, adding, “You’re literally being held captive like a prisoner.”

Others who were on the show have expressed concerns that they did not receive enough psychological support or adequate nutrition during filming. In April, Love Is Blind production company Kinetic Content told The Times, “The well-being of our contestants is of the utmost importance to Kinetic.” We have strict protocols in place to look after each individual before, during and after filming. “

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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