Let’s start with this SAG Press Release (Watchdog comments highlighted)
- This will be followed by a letter from Bret Fausett, Mr. Vulich’s attorney.
- Then those e-mails that are freaking out certain sore losers.
SAG PURSUES NINE-COUNT SUIT AGAINST EMPLOYER LINKED TO DISRUPTING UNION VOTE
Individual Admits Involvement; Guild Vows ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Interference in Union Decisions
: What a Manipulative, Misleading Headline! First the statement that “SAG pursuessuit against employer linked to disrupting union vote.” Then they ballyhoo that the “Individual Admits Involvement.” Well first of all, Mr. Vulich is NOT an employer of actors. Mr. Vulich is an Emmy Award winning designer of special make-up effects
But to be fair to David White, SAG General Counsel, who released the SAG press release, I would imagine that Mr. Vulich EMPLOYS an assistant, a staff of technicians– and perhaps even a cleaning lady. So, in SAG’s sharp legal beagle’s eyes, that’s good enough for his misleading headline: “SAG PursuesSuit against EMPLOYER“
Los Angeles (August 9, 2004) Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced today that the union is engaged in a federal lawsuit against John Vulich, president of Optic Nerve Studios an employer who, after initial denials, has admitted to being the source of numerous unlawful emails designed to inappropriately influence a pivotal union vote. Last week, in the first two major rulings in the case, a federal judge denied attempts by Mr. Vulich to prevent the case from proceeding. Guild attorneys warned that other names may be added to the suit.
As you’ll see Mr. Vulich did nothing nefarious! He simply forwarded legitimate e-mails from SAG leaders who opposed CONsolidation. Hey, I forwarded them and I bet a lot of you did too. Oooooh! Are you beginning to get the message here, folks! Intimidation! If they can get a make-up artist for passing along some legitimate e-mails–then perhaps the next time they go for CONsolidation, a dues increase or whatever, ah you might think twice about getting involved.
“When an employer uses illegal and harassing means to influence a union vote, the fundamental right of our members to self-determination is undermined,” said David White, SAG’s general counsel. “Employers have no business interfering with the rights of working actors to make thecritical decisions of their union. To protect our members and their right to self-governance, SAG has no choice but to pursue this investigation and all legal remedies to the full extent of the law. We are deeply concerned by the pattern of illegal conduct we have uncovered, and we will show zero tolerance.”
Geez these people can’t get anything right! Mr. Vulich is an EMPLOYEEof the Studios, NOTan EMPLOYERof actors. John Vulich heads Optic Nerve Studios where Visual Make-up Effects are created. He’s worked for such shows as “Buffy” and “Angel.” In fact here’s some of his handy work from one of those shows!
Specifically, the charges relate to a series of falsified emails sent to Guild members and staff in advance of last year’s vote on the proposed consolidation of SAG with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). The unsolicited emails were designed to appear as if they were official SAG emails or sanctioned by the Guild. While the deceptive emails were inappropriately distributed to large segments of the Guild’s membership, the most controversial email was sent to Guild employees. Designed to resemble a memorandum from SAG’s Human Resources Department, it falsely claimed that workers’ future employment would be jeopardized if the unions consolidated. The consolidation measure was narrowly defeated in a membership referendum.
: When you inspect the e-mails you’ll see that they do not try to appear as if they are official SAG e-mails or sanctioned by the Guild. Compare them to the phony Restore Respect SAG press release bashing MembershipFirst, or the manipulative Restore Respect: Night Under the Stars flier, which proclaimed that it was sponsored by The SCREEN ACTORS GUILD Young Professionals. (a bogus NON SAG affiliated group) Now to be fair, although Mr. White is not taking THEM to COURT, he has asked THEM not to do it again.
Through an investigation including information obtained from Adelphia Communications and Yahoo! through third-party subpoenas SAG lawyers traced the bulk email attack to an Internet account belonging to Mr. Vulich. After repeatedly denying any knowledge of the emails, and once it was clear that SAG was proceeding with litigation, Mr. Vulich finally admitted he was the source of most of the emails. However, Mr. Vulich continues to deny involvement in the fraudulent emails sent directly to SAG employees.
And there is absolutely NO PROOF that he did anything more than forward, legitimate, truthful e-mails from SAG leaders, including several past SAG presidents, and concerned members who opposed CONsolidation.
“Mr. Vulich has alleged that he worked on behalf of certain SAG members in connection with his sabotage efforts, but he has refused to produce any credible evidence supporting this assertion,” White added. “Our union is filled with diverse, strong opinions. But our members are very public in speaking their minds, and we do not believe that they conspire with employers to undermine a legitimate union vote. Wherever this investigation leads, however, our position remains the same: If individuals feel they can wrongfully alter the outcome of a union vote through intimidation, fraud or other illegal means, then they are sorely mistaken.”
Right, I can just hear Mr. Vulich “Yeah, yeah, I worked on behalf of certain SAG members in my sabotage efforts!” Hmmm, but then he “refused to produce any credible evidence supporting his assertion.” Huh? First he accuses himself! Then he fails to back up his accusation! My God, the cad! I especially agree with this part “If individuals feel they can wrongfully alter the outcome of a union vote through intimidation, fraud or other illegal means, then they are sorely mistaken!” It ain’t gonna work Bob, Melissa, David and the rest! You ain’t gonna stifle the truth with your phony law suit!
Oh, and Mr. White says of SAG members “we do not believe that they conspire with employers to undermine a legitimate union vote.” But wait it was only a few months ago that President Gilbert proclaimed that our employers have placed Embedded Union Busters in our midst to harm union members?” Hey, maybe she was talking about the make-up artists! Right!”
This past Friday, the federal court judge presiding over the case ruled in SAG’s favor on two separate attempts by Mr. Vulich to prevent the union from proceeding with its case against him. Describing the motions as “almost entirely without merit,” the first denied Mr. Vulich’s motion to dismiss SAG’s complaint. The second commonly known as an “anti-SLAPP” motion claimed that SAG was punishing Mr. Vulich for exercising his First Amendment rights and would have required SAG to pay Mr. Vulich’s legal fees. However, the judge ruled the motion to be “frivolous” and instead ordered Mr. Vulich to pay SAG’s legal costs incurred by the motion.
I’ll let Mr. Vulich’s attorney clarify the above statements.
SAG’s suit alleges nine causes of action, including fraud, libel, nuisance, interference with employment relationships, trademark infringement, two counts of computer fraud and abuse, unfair competition, and interference with prospective economic advantage. SAG is seeking general and punitive damages and injunctive relief against future email attacks. The Guild also is investigating a possible connection to similar electronic attacks in last fall’s successful commercials contract referendum.
“Unfair competition?” This from the gang that spent MILLIONS of our DUES dollars on a deluge of propaganda to sucker us into Consolidation! Mr. White says that perhaps he may take this to the Labor Board! I say YES! Let’s take it ALL to the labor board! Let’s have an OPEN INVESTIGATION! Then perhaps we can find if FIVE MILLION DOLLARS was taken from the Missing Actors Residual Fund to finance things–like this lawsuit and failed referendums!
The following e-mail is from Mr. Vulich’s attorney Bret Fausett. It is followed by ACTUAL COPIES of those “Interfering” e-mails
(formatting on this letter was SW’s)
Talk about “frivolous” Lawsuits! Now, let’s look at those e-mails that Mr. Vulich forwarded. You’ll notice that all of them, unlike the undocumented twaddle you were bombarded with from Bob & the Gang, quoted segments of the AIMA Constitution to back their points. Conversely, in spending FOUR MILLION OF YOUR DUES DOLLARS on Consolidation, those pushing it never ONCE quoted their own AIMA Constitution to disprove an allegation— or prove one of their bogus professions!
Oh, and another thought how would anyone affect the Referendum vote by e-mailling the staff. THEY DON’T HAVE A VOTE IN SUCH MATTERS?
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief
Here then are Mr. Fausett’s exhibits.