Our brave, brave betters in Hollywood unanimously passed a resolution against President Trump on Friday but their courage stopped just short of actually naming the president. How does one fight an enemy if that enemy isn’t named?
SAG-AFTRA’s biennial convention was attended by 400 delegates and the resolution was passed unanimously. It calls for a “free and unencumbered press”, which is hardly bold and controversial language except in the minds of anti-Trump attendees, apparently. The resolution made headlines in the industry’s publications. The press is protected in the First Amendment, after all. One phrase was included, though, just in case there is any nuance in the wording of the resolution. (There isn’t.) “Enemy of the people” was specifically included.
“We are living in an extraordinary time when the news media has been attacked as spreading false stories and as an enemy of the people,” the resolution read. “SAG-AFTRA has on at least two occasions since the last national convention, issued strong statements on behalf of a free and unencumbered press.
“SAG-AFTRA believes that the entities that employ journalists must do everything they can to ensure their freedom, protection and safety,” it added. “As a proud labor union representing more than 160,000 broadcasters, actors and entertainers, the union stands with all of its members in ensuring that the basic rights of an unrestricted and independent press continue to be defended.”
No American would argue against a resolution that supports the freedom of the press. What many Americans don’t support, though, is the way in which much of the news is delivered in the Trump era. Lots of journalists and reporters seem to have forgotten how to report the facts without editorializing. There is, indeed, a lot of fake news out there, no matter who is making the accusation. Trump, as is his way, points his finger at members of the press or television news networks, or anyone else who has irritated him and calls them out. It isn’t new for a president to have a contentious relationship with the press. What is new is a president who punches back every day.
There is irony in this resolution, too. “The four-day event is closed to members of the press, except for SAG-AFTRA delegates who are also broadcasters.” Oh. Not very transparent, are they?
President Trump himself is a member of the union. He even participates in the union’s pension fund like the rest of the members. For example, in 2015 he included a SAG pension fund in financial disclosures.
In 2015, one of Trump’s financial-disclosure forms revealed that he had $110,228 in a SAG pension fund. That sum, which seems surprisingly high, comes mostly courtesy of his hosting gigs on The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice. Trump has also made several cameo appearances in movies like Home Alone 2 and TV shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
The leftists in Hollywood included Trump as one of their own until he ran for president as a Republican, then all bets were off. Funny how that happens. It must be a constant thorn in their side that he is a fellow union member.
This resolution wasn’t the union’s first aimed at Trump.
In October, 2017, SAG-AFTRA issued a strong statement in support of a “free and unencumbered press” after Trump threatened to strip networks of their broadcast licenses. That resolution also did not name Trump.
Other resolutions were on the agenda but none of those made headlines.
Other resolutions include expanding protections for LGBTQ performers and sexual harassment and assault survivors; banning casting directors from serving as members of the union’s board of directors; establishing a code of conduct and disciplinary measures for members who carry out acts of misconduct against other members, staff and management, and purchasing a building to serve as the union’s national headquarters instead of leasing. There’s even a resolution calling on the national board to create a committee to craft a detailed proposal for eliminating the convention itself.
Reboots are popular these days in the entertainment world. Looks like the union is just rebooting the standard Orange Man bad rhetoric we hear every day. Freedom of the press in America is alive and well.
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) October 12, 2019