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If you can’t trust an honest company or a mother, who can you trust? That seems to be the question at SAG-AFTRA, which issued a do not work order Monday against star Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, warning that the purveyor of natural beauty and cleaning supplies to woke families everywhere was preparing to spend the week in Los Angeles shooting non-union commercials produced by hipster ad agency Mother.
Those companies’ warm and fuzzy brand identities clash discordantly with the reality of refusing to offer union wages and working conditions, says the union — not to mention the fact that Alba is herself a SAG-AFTRA member. The order, contained in an email blast and available online, says that the union reached out to both companies, to no avail.
“We really wanted the ad to be union,” said SAG-AFTRA’s national director of commercials contracts Lori Hunt in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “We were hoping for a positive result.”
So far, no luck on that front, notwithstanding an erroneous press report that appeared a half-hour before the order and claimed that Honest Company had reached a deal with SAG-AFTRA. That’s not the case, emphasized Hunt, who added that there are no talks ongoing, either.
Instead, the operative language is this, from the order: “All SAG-AFTRA members are hereby instructed to withhold services for this production until further notice. Accepting employment or rendering services on any of these upcoming commercials may be considered a violation of Global Rule One. Violating this order may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the SAG-AFTRA Constitution.”
Neither Honest Company, Mother nor Alba’s reps responded to an email requesting comment.
The union’s action comes at a time of high sensitivity around commercial work. A new grass roots group called UnionWorking is pressing the union to do more to combat non-union commercials. Separately, SAG-AFTRA members rallied last week outside the union’s headquarters with a similar goal. Meanwhile, October will mark the beginning of the union’s commercials wages and working conditions process — essentially, outreach meetings with members — to help shape contract priorities in advance of negotiations next spring.
And all of this plays out against a backdrop of challenges to the very survival of commercials, as younger consumers abandon ad supported media like broadcast television and flock instead to generally commercial free subscription platforms such as Netflix.
8/21/2018 11:35 a.m. updated to correct that UnionWorking did not organize last week’s rally
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