THE NEW HOLLYWOOD BLACKLIST

 

There's a Blacklist. You may be on it.

(And not even know it..)

No, not the new hit television series.

An honest-to-God, genuine, DO NOT EMPLOY THIS PERSON blacklist.

Welcome to Hollywood's dirtiest little secret.

 

Anyone, from any department, on any set, for any reason, can make a

complaint against you. Without any documentation or verification. 

Without checking in with the UPM or even their department head.

They simply call their productions rep at Central and say that they had

a problem and not to book this person ever again for their show.

 

There is no '3 strikes' system. No review board. No appeals. Nothing.

They can terminate you immediately. Banning you from working for

any of the other productions they book for. (60% of listed shows on

average.) Forget a case of mistaken indentity. You're disposable.

And everyone, except you, is completely unaccountable.

 

The powers that be over at Central Casting are in an unprecedented

position in our industry. They are seemingly immune to the rules and

regulations required of every other major employer or corporation in this

country. They have no oversight from any outside agency or regulations

regarding their treatment of the thousands of actors employed daily by

their service.

 

The 1st dodge is they're an "at will" company.

On paper, either they, or the employee; can terminate the relationship "at will." 

While this might seem equitable on the face of it, it's legalsleeze for 

"We can treat you how we want with no enforceable contract between us."

Their 2nd dodge is that they are not the actual employer of said actors.

Really?

 

They've set up a system completely controlling the entire process.

You have to sign up with a call service (for a fee) that controls your

access to the job submission itself. (Often a company endorsed or

partnered with them, ala Extras! Management.) They then filter these 

submissions thru to the various Production Companies, (also their 

employers/partners), who then pay us thru Entertainment Partners,

(A payroll service "owned by employees" which also happens 

to be their parent company.)

 

They process your personal information, decide who gets what job, 

contact you with a booking # and location info, handle your I 9's and 

Federal Witholding and State hiring forms yet they're not an Employer?

Only when it suits them it seems.

Like when they want to terminate someone. 

For no documented reason.

Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

 

At $77 million dollars a year listed background earnings by the 

SAG AFTRA 2010 Earnings Report that's a nice chunk of change

that you have complete control over who gets, or more importantly,

doesn't get. The fact that SAG has been complicit with this scheme

and has taken no action to change this, even though 90% of the

rank and file membership has demanded it, is another story entirely.

Let's stay with this issue for now.

 

Is it just me, or is this potential for abuse within their own system in

need of a serious overhaul? Someone from outside this industry is going 

to have to step in and demand regulations that protect the people

that do the majority of the work you see on almost every set. 

Stand Ins. (At least they get treated like crew). The Background Artists. 

The Extras. You know; the moving, out of focus people walking by.

 

As much as I don't like to advocate Government Intervention in any

kind of business, this industry has continually proven that it can't

police itself. (Nor does it want to; unless forced, it seems.)

 

They have purposely structured their business arrangement so that 

they have little or no competition, tightly control the flow of information 

and distribution of monies to select individuals or groups, 

(all of whom are either their business partners or are giving kickbacks) 

and leave themselves free from any chance of litigation or responsibility 

for their work force by claiming that because the Production Company 

(their partners/clients) pays you thru a payroll service like Entertainment 

Partners Corp.(their parent company) that they are NOT YOUR EMPLOYER?

 

Pardon me, but I don't think you're allowed to have it both ways.

 

You either are the direct funnel that employs thousands of us every day 

in our insulated corner of the Entertainment Business with no oversight for 

your own employees, (much less for the ones you say you 'don't employ'), 

or you're running an American based business with transparent operating practices

that protect its workers and operates under Federal, State and Local Worker

Guidelines with regards to having an appeals process in place and the right to

bear grievance heard by an impartial third party. 

 

So which is it Central Casting?

I'd really like to know...

 

If you have been blacklisted or know someone who has, please be an

advocate for change and contact us at rightsforactors@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

To:
Put safeguards in place for actors as there is no required documentation regarding employment termination disputes.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 250 signatures
    2. We Can Help. Do you have a suit pending? Help us, help you.

      Rights For Actors
      Petition Organizer

      Every time there are more than 10 actors in the same room (except for
      an audition) it seems someone has been directly affected by this. They
      have either been suspended or terminated themselves (often by the
      actions of a stressed out or misinformed Production Assistant or by
      the carelessness of a Casting Associate from Central Casting.) Some
      have stood by incredulously and watched behavior that borders the
      absurd go unnoticed, while others are forced to watch or hear the
      berating of an adult human being simply because of a minor wardrobe
      glitch or perceived missed cue. Starting a fight on set, selling drugs,
      being overtly disrespectful or disruptive, sexually aggressive, these
      are all things that should never be tolerated in the workplace and if
      a complaint is lodged there is almost always documentation about the
      incident required. At the very least for insurance purposes. But a case
      of mistaken identity? Production asks for a name and is given the
      wrong one? What then?

    3. Tell a friend. They don't have to be an actor. What's right is right.

      Rights For Actors
      Petition Organizer

      If we refuse to accept this type of behavior from employers and support
      each other for a common cause, we can bring about change. Asking for
      safeguards, an appeals system to be put in place, is not unreasonable.
      Documentation from a complaining party available to view and dispute
      from an independent third party for termination mediation when there is
      no obvious physical evidence for dismissal. A defined list of terminable
      offenses. A measured response to first time offenders. For starters.

    4. Reached 50 signatures
    5. Thanks for Stepping Up

      Rights For Actors
      Petition Organizer

      I understand that in this business you may want to remain 'under the
      radar' on this as we are all well aware of the reality of this list and that
      Central Casting has the power to utilize it at their discretion only. We
      appreciate your support on this issue and encourage you to contact
      any other actors or people who advocate equal rights for them.

    6. Reached 25 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Jose Borrero STATEN ISLAND, NY
      • 4 days ago

      What should be legally right should be enforced.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Michael Davis HOLLYWOOD, CA
      • 11 days ago

      Taken from an upcoming article:

      Background Actors are the "Blue Collar" of the Acting profession and the backbone of the business on a day-to-day basis. Most of these people live paycheck to paycheck, simply making ends meet from week to week, and trying to pay their bills on time. The consequences of these sudden "Termination" actions carried out by Central Casting have been less than glamorous for such folk, and can instantly mean the prospect of not being able to put food on the table for their children, or not being able to make their rent.

      "I was also blacklisted. I contacted the SAG Background Representative, Terri Becherer, who seemed sympathetic at first. I spent weeks and weeks of trying to patiently to follow up with her every now and then, while I struggled to stay afloat this financial quicksand I had suddenly found myself in. The "I will call you back" promised call would never come. One day, after I reviewed my file at Central and found it rife with errors or fabrications, I called her. She was completely stoic. It was not the same person I had talked to before. She might have either been threatened or paid off, I'll never be sure; but the marked difference in her persona was too stark to go by unnoticed as she carried the conversation with short answers spreckled with Yes and No and there is nothing we can do and Central is not willing to change their stance. She said she had talked to Allen Kennamer, VP Central Casting, and the man behind all terminations; and he had refused to give the situation any further thoughts. What surprised me most was why she had never bothered to call me the entire time after this conversation she reportedly had with Mr. Kennamer. In the end, I was left with no choice but to move away, give up my SAG membership, and leave the business completely."

      It wasn't always like this. Background Actors had their own union called the "Screen Extras Guild" (SEG), up until 1991, when a deteriorating Health and Pension fund forced the Background Union to accept a charitable hand by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and be absorbed into SAG's framework. While certain facilities were secured as a result of this merger, others such as proper representation, were completely lost forever. As the 90 year mark nears since Central Casting's inception in 1925 - set up by the Studios to gate-keep the deluge of "extra girls" in the wake of the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle rape scandal - much has changed in the entertainment industry. The one thing that has continuously fortified is the level of Central Casting's autonomous power while largely remaining a monopoly; and what has continuously devolved for the worst is SAG's stance on the policies surrounding its Background Actor members' welfare, and its lack of assembly to counter the measures taken by Central Casting.

      "Terri Becherer should resign as SAG's Director of Background Actors. The only time we ever hear from any of SAG's officers is during election season, when the prospective office-seekers drop by our filming sets in hoardes to rally votes from us Background Performers, the largest working group, albeit the lowest earning, within the Union. Behind the scenes, the powers at Central Casting laugh at SAG. There is nothing else left to do and no deals can be made with Central Casting at this point. Its just too late for all that."

      "I think its time for Central Casting to close its doors. Enough is enough."

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kristy Henerson CYPRESS, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      Central Casting is a horrible company! They blacklisted me for no reason, they did not even say why. It has been 10 years and they are still blacklisting me. They are worse than horrible and should be shut down.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Deborah Reese NEW YORK, NY
      • 2 months ago

      People should be treated fairly when it comes to employment with Central Casting. Don't judge me because of the color of my skin. The race card is used in hiring and it is clearly observed.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dianna Thurman BAKERSFIELD, CA
      • 3 months ago

      Both my sons have had "issues" with Central, my son's have had no voice. It's terrible the way they have been treated. I think Central wants robots rather than humans.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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