SAG-AFTRA Presidential Candidate Pete Antico Challenges Field to Debate

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The incumbent says she’ll consider it, a key challenger didn’t respond and the two dark horse candidates indicated willingness.

SAG-AFTRA presidential candidate Pete Antico has challenged the other four candidates to a debate, he announced Sunday in an email to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Consider this a formal challenge to all candidates to an ethical on camera debate in an open forum on camera,” said Antico, an independent formerly part of the MembershipFirst group of SAG-AFTRA’s factionalized politics. Absent a debate, media interviews “let Miss Carteris off the hook and the hard questions that I would ask of her would not be addressed,” he added, referring to incumbent president Gabrielle Carteris, a member of the dominant Unite for Strength and United Screen Actors Nationwide slates.

In response to Antico’s challenge, Carteris said, “I’ve talked face-to-face with members in virtually every local and heard their concerns directly. I know what they care about and they know what I have been doing and will continue to do to fight for the things that matter most to them. If Pete wants to reach out to me personally with specifics, I’ll look at what he’s proposing.”

Antico also sharply criticized Carteris and national executive director David White for a variety of alleged failures and misconduct.

Independents Robert B. Martin Jr. and Marilyn Monrovia expressed a willingness to debate.

“Robert would be happy to participate as long as all candidates do as well,” said Martin’s spokesman.

Monrovia said “Yes,” and added that she hoped a debate would take place soon, in light of preexisting travel plans.

In addition, the ballots go out on Tuesday, and many voters fill them out promptly. The ballots encompass president, secretary-treasurer, half of the national board seats and local officers and board seats.

MembershipFirst candidate Esai Morales did not respond to inquiries on this or other matters. His representative previously sent THR a press release announcing his candidacy a day after he had provided the news to other outlets, making it impossible for THR to timely report the announcement.