The Screen Actors Guild Hollywood Film Society is a nonprofit organization. It’s been around since 1974, and is a great deal, one that gives members an opportunity for a nominal fee to gather in fellowship and observe other performers work while promoting awareness of the types of film being produced
That’s what it is! What it ain’t is the personal fiefdom of Committee or staff members in which they can conduct a Star Chamber type court in which members are presumed guilty until found innocent!
Case in point, this official Film Society missive sent to a society member by the society’s Assistant Manager Ken Knox! (Printed with the permission of the recipient.)
The Ol Dog has added a few pertinent comments in italics to the following transcript of the letter in discussion! A photocopy of the Film Society’s letter is provided below.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Re: Incident at the DGA -Prior to the 6:30 p.m./Sept. 8th screening of HALF NELSON
Dear Ms. Johnson:
Prior to the start of the 6:30 p.m. screening, after having your card scanned at the check in desk, you offered to admit another member’s extra guest on your card. You said that Ron said it was okay for you to do that. Almost immediately after you made this offer. Richard Chew, the SAG attendant, informed you that the problem had already been solved.
Huh? Is it just the Ol’ Dog, or is the above allegation printed as irrefutable fact. (According to Ms. Peaches Johnson, the recipient of the letter, not only had her card not been scanned, but she was not consulted for her side of the story prior to the above determination being concluded and included in the Film Society’s correspondence to her. A thought, if Ms. Johnsons card had been scanned surely Mr. Knox can produce a record to support a portion of his allegation. If not perhaps an apology is appropriate.)
Please be advised that Film Society Rule #9 states the ” Any attempt to solicit members who are attending a screening alone, for the purpose of having that member bring you or your guests into the theater, will be considered a violation of Film Society rules. This violation will result in the cancellation of the Film Society memberships of all persons involved.”
Huh? Part Deux! First Mr. Knox states that Ms. Johnson invited another person to be her guest, then states that by doing so she violated Rule #9 which states that “any attempt to solicit members who are attending a screening alone, for the purpose of having that member bring you or your guests into the theater, will be considered a violation of Film Society rules.” Not only does Mr. Knox cite a non-applicable rule, but he completely ignores the applicable one. Rule #4 clearly states “one guest accompanying the member is allowed at screenings!” Hmmm, no caveat there about who that guest might be!
You must be aware that the Film Society announced that extra guests would not be permitted at this screening. Permitting a member’s extra guest to enter the theater on another member’s card would be unfair to our members who have abided by the “no extra guest” provision. Furthermore, even if this had not been a “no extra guest!’ screening, allowing another member’s unpaid extra guest into the theater would be unfair to those Film Society members who had paid $7.50 for an extra guest pass.
We’ll just call the above section, the “tap dancing around the issue” paragraph. Have you ever noticed that when proclamations are on shaky ground irrelevant information is added to obfuscate the issue?
The Film Society office requests that you please comply with this rule in the future, otherwise the Film Society office will be forced to terminate your membership.
So first Film Society spokeperson Mr. Knox states allegation as fact, then proceeds to compound this offense by referencing an unrelated rule violation, and then adding insult to injury, he issues a not so veiled threat in what can only be interpreted as a “Hat Trick” of arrogance, ignorance and intimidation. You beginning to get the idea that perhaps some of these folks have too much time on their hands?
If you ever have any questions about Film Society rules or procedures, please feel free
to contact me.
I got a question, Mr. Knox where does a staff member, whose salary is paid for by SAG members dues money, get off treating a SAG member in such a pompous, disrespectful, and intimidating manner?
SAG Film Society
Phone: 323 549-6658
Enclosure: Film Society Rules
Obviously, Mr. Knox would not have sent such an unadvised letter without the okay of the Film Society’s Chair Timothy Blake. Now, if Mr. Knox, Ms. Blake, or any other committee member would like to send the Ol’ Dog an explanation of the letter to Ms. Johnson, addressing the specific issues raised by the Ol’ Dog, it will be posted.
In the meantime, I would suggest that Mr. Knox’s boss NED Peter Frank, or the SAG Board, look into the matter, and perhaps we can get an explanation of why, currently, at the Film Society “You are guilty until proven innocent.”
Or, and here’s a thought! Since, the “terminate” word seems to be tossed around so capriciously, how about adding a #Rule 11 to the Film Society’s regulations.
Watchdog Proposed Rule Addition:
For the record, Peaches is a friend of mine, and has been since we met during the 2000 Commercial Strike: A strike in which she, and others, stood up for our union, and its members, in her case, to the extent that she jeopardized her career.
Some may say that this is a trivial matter, after all she was only reprimanded, and we have more important things on our agenda. My response is that there is nothing more important than insuring that all our members are accorded the respect that they deserve —-without being subjected to threats based on unsubstantiated allegations. Does anyone believe that if Ms. Johnson was a high-profile actor she would be the recipient of a correspondence such as the one that she received from Mr. Knox and the Film Society Committee!
Any organization should be judged not by how it treats its most powerful members but rather its most vulnerable. In this scenario, our Film Society needs to yell “Cut!” and call for “Take Two!”.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Post addendum: The Ol’ Dog showed up for the Writers’ Unity Rally this morning before posting this piece, and although I’m sure there were other SAG members there showing solidarity, who should yell out my name but, you got it, Peaches Johnson!
*All Formatting is the SW’s.