Friday, September 4, 2009


Hollywood (September 4, 2009)


To Our Fellow Screen Actors Guild Members,

We are candidates running for the SAG board with the slates known as Unite For Strength ( and United Screen Actors Nationwide(

We’re running with these groups because they not only represent the strongest future for our union, but best represent its full diversity as well. Look at the candidates and supporters of the UFS and USAN slates and you will see actors who’ve worked every category from Background and Featured Performer to Series Regular and Film Lead. We represent and are comprised of African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Caucasians, Jews, Muslims, Christians — the full breadth of diversity our country and our union have to offer.

We are proud that our national board, under a combined UFS, USAN, and Regional Branch Division majority, appointed David White to our union’s top staff position of Interim National Executive Director — the first African American to hold the position. This is one of the reasons we were saddened when Anne-Marie Johnson and other Membership First candidates filed a lawsuit against the Guild to remove Mr. White. In the seven months since Mr. White was hired, SAG has successfully negotiated six contracts, yet Ms. Johnson sued to replace him with his predecessor, Doug Allen, who never successfully negotiated a single SAG contract in over two years. Two judges have dismissed the case but Ms. Johnson and Membership First continue to appeal and add to the $170,000 of your dues money already wasted defending this frivolous lawsuit.

We would love to see diversity reach the highest levels in SAG, including the presidency, but not at the cost of our union’s financial well being, respect and unity. Our members have lost over $100 million because of the ill-conceived negotiating strategies of Ms. Johnson and Membership First. Additionally, the slurs and attacks publicly voiced by Ms. Johnson and Membership First have cost our union the respect and partnership of the DGA, WGA and, most regrettably, our sister union AFTRA. Each of these unions is a key ally in getting the strongest contracts possible. More to the point, the central role Ms. Johnson and Membership First played in the breakdown of the relationship between SAG and AFTRA means that under her presidency, any attempts at cooperation with AFTRA would be viewed as suspect.

We believe the best solution to many of our major issues is merger or at least a close working relationship with AFTRA. The recent shift in prime-time work between SAG and AFTRA means that single cardholders – especially background performers – may have to pay initiation fees and join the other union in order to retain the same work opportunities. The shift in work will also make it more difficult for members to qualify for health and pension benefits because their earnings could be split between the two union plans. The next President must mend ties with our sister union. Unfortunately, Ms. Johnson has made herself a pariah with AFTRA leadership, making her incapable of healing the relationship. She has also made clear her unwillingness to explore the possibility of merger. She declares she wants to “bring all actors under one roof” but provides no legally, financially, or ethically viable strategy to accomplish this.

We call on all SAG members to reject any and all personal attacks in this election — especially racial slurs. In a recent video interview, Ms. Johnson stated that she has received “a ton of racist emails” and that she “get[s] that every day.” This is obviously a grave matter and if any of those emails came from SAG members, we call on Ms. Johnson to immediately provide details of those communications to the Guild’s legal department. Membership must know that regardless of our political differences, no one in Guild leadership considers racism trivial and it is the obligation of all SAG members to report such incidents without delay.

Ms. Johnson, like many of us, has been a tireless champion for diversity and we applaud her dedication and advocacy in the boardroom. But during the period that Ms. Johnson and Membership First controlled our union, SAG did not grow stronger but was in fact weakened. It’s time for SAG members of every background to embrace a better approach. We are asking for your vote because Unite For Strength and United Screen Actors Nationwide represent that better approach: building strength through unity. We’re also proud to say we represent true diversity.

In Solidarity,
Hill Harper, Manny Alfaro, L. Scott Caldwell, Assaf Cohen, Jason George, Nancy Giles, Dulé Hill, Mike Hodge, Clyde Kusatsu, Dawnn Lewis, Amir Talai, Sharon Washington


For Hollywood Division Members
President – KEN HOWARD

Secretary-Treasurer – AMY AQUINO
Board of Directors – Please vote for ALL 33 board candidates below. DO NOT vote for more than 33 board candidates or your ballot will not be counted.
1 – Michelle Allsopp

6 – Patrick Fabian

9 – Jason George

10 – Dawnn Lewis

11 – Woody Schultz

12 – Michael O’Keefe

14 – Clark Gregg

19 – David Lawrence

20 – Amir Talai

21 – Doug Savant

22 – Dule Hill

23 – Clyde Kusatsu

25 – Tim DeKay

28 – Assaf Cohen

34 – Scotty Caldwell

35 – D.W. Moffett

39 – Mandy Steckelberg

40 – Richard Speight, Jr.

43 – Jenny O’Hara

52 – Gabrielle Carteris

55 – Hill Harper

57 – Bill Smitrovich

58 – Bob Bergen

59 – Ned Vaughn

60 – Nancy Travis

62 – Gregory Itzin

64 – Ellen Crawford

67 – Stacey Travis

73 – Christian Clemenson

74 – Conrad Palmisano

75 – Richard Fancy

81 – Marcia Wallace

82 – John Carroll Lynch

**NEW YORK DIVISION MEMBERS**Please go to for a full candidate list and USAN voting guide.

This message was sent by: Hill Harper, Sender’s valid physical postal address provided in accordance with federal CAN-SPAM Act is: 5757 Wilshire Blvd., 7th FL., Los Angeles, CA 90036-3600