Over 100 SAG-AFTRA members have accused the union of forcibly requiring vaccinations so actors could work, Deadline reported.
The lawsuit, filed at the LA Superior Court on Thursday, claimed that the Guild sold its own members down the corporate river and colluding with the studios to make sure performers were vaccinated before they can work.
SAG-AFTRA and Anti-vaccine lawsuit
According to the suit filed by stuntman and union member Dorian Kingi, “SAG-AFTRA members had a right to expect that its Union would protect them, negotiate with the studios, producers and other hiring officials on their behalf to prevent prejudicial treatment for exerting their philosophical, religious, medical or disability-based reason for not taking the COVID-19 vaccine.”
Kingi is one of the 103 defendants represented by Gerald Fox Law who filed against SAG-AFTRA.
The 21-page lawsuit also stated, “Adding insult to injury, assuming SAG-AFTRA were a public/government and not private actor, similar to California law which requires students attending public or private school be vaccinated against certain named and identified infectious diseases, SAG-AFTRA was allowing its signatories (production companies/studios) to forcibly impose vaccination requirements and mandates in exchange for a Union Member’s ability to work, receive an audition, maintain management, maintain an agent, work with talent agencies, etc.”
“Thus, SAG-AFTRA Members were forced to choose between their financial livelihood, breaking the law to obtain a falsified vaccination card or adhering to the acceptance of a foreign, not yet CDC approved, vaccine and boosters in their bodies against their will,” the suit alleges further.
The plaintiffs are accusing SAG-AFTRA of breach of fiduciary duties and four more claims.
The 103 cases seek damages and injunctive relief. They also want the court to compel the union to “restore all losses to Plaintiff which resulted from the breaches of fiduciary duty or by virtue of liability.”
SAG-AFTRA responded that the claims do not have any merit and that the union will seek to have the cases dismissed.
A union spokesperson told the entertainment portal, “The union has already defended and obtained dismissal of other charges brought against it before the National Labor Relations Board relating to the Return to Work Agreement.”
According to the union's website detailing COVID-19 protocols, SAG-AFTRA itself does not require its members to be vaccinated. The producer or the employer will have to ask for the union's permission to mandate vaccines. However, the employers (studios) are obligated to “reasonably accommodate” disabilities or “sincerely held religious beliefs” that would not allow performers to be fully vaccinated.