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The WGA East council voted last week to send charges against Joan Rivers over to a trial board hearing, the guild said on Wednesday.
“We are distressed by reports that Joan Rivers, who worked so hard to create an illustrious career, turned her back on other writers who are still building careers of their own,” said Michael Winship, WGAE president, in a statement. “The question of whether she has, in fact, violated our working rules will be decided by the trial board. We cannot pre-judge the outcome, but we can say that it is a very serious matter when a member is accused of writing and showrunning on a noncovered show and continuing to do so after the other writers have decided to go on strike for reasonable pay and benefits.”
The writers for the show had been on strike since April and earlier in the week had posted video interviews explaining their disappointment in the Fashion Police host, who is a lifetime member of the WGAE.
“The fact that Joan Rivers isn’t just the star, but a member of the Writers Guild and she won’t support her fellow Writers Guild member, is just astonishing to me. It’s such a basic fairness issue,” said one of the show’s striking writers, Ned Rice, in a YouTube clip.
When the writer’s strike began in April, E! sent The Hollywood Reporter a statement: “Joan Rivers has gone on record repeatedly that she supports the Fashion Police writers and wants a fair agreement for them.”
WGAE says Rivers will have a chance to present her case to the trial board. The board’s members have not yet been appointed.
Prior to the strike, the writers, with the assistance of the WGA West, filed claims with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement against E! and Rivers, alleging that that they broke state labor law by not compensating the writers for all of the regular and overtime hours they’ve worked, according to the WGA West. The amounts claimed are about $1.1 million against E! and $400,000 against Rivers.
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