Writers Blast Joan Rivers for Apparent Flip Flop on 'Fashion Police' Strike

Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Joan Rivers

A month ago, Rivers supported a WGA position –- that E! negotiate with the guild -– as part of a deal to settle charges against her, but now she says E! is right and that writers should have voted before striking.

Writers on Fashion Police denounced Joan Rivers as a “hypocrite” Wednesday for statements she made in a recent interview regarding the ongoing WGA East strike against the E! show. The move comes six weeks after the WGAE and Rivers settled union charges against her that she was writing for the show during the strike, which the guild says was a violation of its rules.

In the interview on the Splitsider website, Rivers sided with the network’s position that a union election be held before any negotiations take place between E! and the WGAE, with Rivers quoted as saying “E! is right. They wanted writers to take a vote before they went out and decided to strike and the WGA wanted them to negotiate to not take a vote.”

That’s appears to be a reversal of a position she took in connection with dismissal of the charges, when she said in a statement, “It’s time for both sides to sit down at the table and negotiate.  Forget about (holding a union representation) election. We all want the same thing – to get this behind us – so let’s make this deal!”

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In addition, at the time, WGAE president Michael Winship said that “as part of the resolution of the charges, Ms. Rivers has agreed . . . to meet with E! to advocate for immediate contract negotiations in support of the Fashion Police writers.”

Rivers also refers to the situation as “a stupid sloppy mess” and says “everyone is posturing, like, ‘My d–k is bigger than your d–k.’”

In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, a group called Friends of the Fashion Police Writers – which identifies itself as being composed of the striking writers plus supporters – asked, “Is WGAE President Michael Winship aware of the interview and Joan’s replies? Does Michael Winship plan to schedule a new hearing for Joan Rivers regarding possible disciplinary action and/or expulsion for lying to him and the WGAE? And if not, why not?”

The email added, “Joan Rivers is a hypocrite and must held accountable for the lies she tells while her writing staff continues to suffer.”

The WGA East did not respond to a request for comment, and it was not immediately possible to reach Rivers.

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The WGA West sanctioned strike has been ongoing since April. The guild is seeking pension and health benefits, residuals and what it calls “industry-standard compensation” for writers on the show. In addition, the WGAW helped writers file complaints with the California labor commissioner, alleging that E! and Rivers’ Rugby Productions owe about $1.5 million in unpaid wages and overtime.

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.

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