Studios rip WGA for filing

Gripe over new-media residuals was designed to 'disrupt' mediation

The WGA's claims that the studios have failed to pay up on new-media residuals to its members was misleading and designed to harm the talks with SAG and a federal mediator, the AMPTP said Monday.

In a "fact sheet" e-mailed by the AMPTP, the group fired back at the WGA, which filed an arbitration claim Nov. 19 claiming that not one penny had been paid for new-media residuals agreed upon in February in the scribes' new contract.

The arbitration filing came the day before SAG and the AMPTP were to sit down with a federal mediator after months of a stalemate over the actors union's TV/theatrical contract.

"Instead of working cooperatively with the companies to resolve any outstanding issues, the WGA went public on the eve of the crucial SAG-AMPTP federal mediation," the AMPTP stated. "This move was blatantly designed to disrupt that mediation and help justify SAG's eventual decision to reject the AMPTP's offer and end the mediation."

The WGA said there is no connection between its arbitration filing and the meeting the AMPTP had with SAG and the federal mediator and pointed out that "the AMPTP apparently had no qualms about announcing its 'deal' with the IATSE on the day prior to the mediation with SAG, obviously timed to impact on those discussions."

The guild added, "The WGA, like everybody else in this industry, is extremely anxious about those negotiations and hopeful that the AMPTP will reach a fair and reasonable agreement with SAG quickly."

The WGA claims that missing payments include streaming media and reuse of work for programs sold as electronic downloads. (partialdiff)