Your Ol’ Watchdog got a call from a friend asking if he would answer a few questions for a colleague who had signed the Hasbro Waiver. Yes, he would!
The gentleman on the other end of the line was very upset. He explained that when he received the deceptive Hasbro Waiver–he signed, and returned it. It wasn’t until after reading the Membership First Campaign Mailer that he had realized that he had been “scammed!”
Now, the gentleman is not a star. He’s just another of rank & file member. The fact that Hasbro/MPTF wants to use his clip attests to the fact that he is a working actor. But, even so, he is not in a position where he can afford to hand over to the MPTF– what is estimated to be between 2500 to 20,000 dollars a year–FOR THE LIFE of the game!
As we continued to talk, and I gave him all the information that I have gathered, his sighs of disbelief and betrayal where heartbreaking. Here’s a good guy who thought he was doing the right thing. He was helping a worthwhile charity! He had no idea that this was a HASBRO project which was using the MPTF as a front to con him into signing away his rights. “But there was NO mention of HASBRO in the letter, ” he exclaimed adding “It’s a SCAM! I though I could trust ’em! I was just trying to help out! Geez, why are they doing this? “
It’s a good question. Why are both SAG and the MPTF involved in what your Ol’ Watchdog believes will go down as one of the most despicable scams perpetrated on Members in guild history! And what makes this scam so appalling is that it has been perpetrated by two noble organizations that until now have admirably served our membership. Of course any organization is only as good its leadership, and as indicated by this unfortunate incident, the corporate mentality of those currently at the helm of SAG & MPTF has failed our members BIG TIME!
So, for at least one victim of this waiver scam, trust in his union has been turned upside down. His union has betrayed him, and now he is going to have turn to his agent —and a LAWYER!
It is a sad, sobering reality! Under the reign of CEO Bob Pisano, SAG President Melissa Gilbert, and her Restore Respect supporters, the membership can no longer depend on their union to protect them from others, but must now depend on others— to protect it from their union.
The Ol’ Watchdog predicted that once those hoodwinked by Hasbro/MPTF/SAG discovered the facts, they would come forward in protest. And you can be sure that the gentleman victimized in this instance is just one of multitude that will make their voices heard once they realize that they too have been “scammed!”
Remember, many have NO IDEA that they have been “included” into this “game” simply by their lack of response to that letter! A letter that portended to be nothing more than a fundraising letter. One that started off by stating “I am writing to request your support for a major fundraising initiative on behalf of the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF)” There was nothing to foreshadow the fact that if they didn’t respond, they could potientally lose thousands of dollars in income which would automatically go to the MPTF. That’s right! Any member who received the letter–and failed to respond is automatically included in the gameand the thousands upon thousands of dollars they could have received will be “donated” to MPTF!
Oh, and just to be clear on what this is all about, that letter written on behalf of the MPTF was penned by Howell E. Begle Jr. an attorney in a firm that lists as one of its clients HASBRO!
To our caller, and to any member that may have donated their clip without knowing, or without knowing the ramifications, the Ol’ Watchdog suggest that you call your agent/attorney, contact SAG/MPTF, and Mr. Beagle at (202) 721-4632.
Oh, and one other thing you might want to do is vote a straight Membership First Slate, for as of now THEY are the only slate that has protested this “SCAM!” A scam that is supported by Melissa Gilbert and her Restore Respect gang.
In case you have not read MPTF’s Fundraising letter that confused our Hasbro Victim, we have included a photocopy of one that was sent to another members heir. You’ll notice that Hasbro was NEVER mentioned in the letter. Nor, was their any mention of the scope of the amount of money the participant might be donating. And finally, the letter did not include a place to opt out in writing on the letter! The only option was a space entitled Agreed_____ !
It is the Watchdog’s firm conviction that anyone involved in this scam of members should resign– or be removed from their positions in our guild, or the MPTF. It’s time for those in power to put the membership first. And you don’t do that by deceptive actions against them in order to advance personal agendas—in the guise of charity.
A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief