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In our recent post The Ol’ Watchdog criticized The Hollywood Reporter for its mislabeling of the Membership First Slate as Dissidents with its “SAG dissident group sets slate” headline. This seemed particularly odd since Membership First holds a majority of seats on the Hollywood Board—which represents 55 percent of SAG’s entire membership!

Well, a little snooping * revealed that The Hollywood reporter has a history of labeling those guild members, who currently make up the Membership First slate, as dissidents.

It is generally accepted that Membership First has at its evolutionary roots the Performers’ Alliance. A group that came on the SAG scene in the late Nineties espousing a decidedly non-diffident approach to bargaining with this town’s power brokers.

And it is the opinion of many that the Hollywood Reporter is a “Company” magazine. So, it figures that their views would coincide with those power brokers who distain non-compliant unions. Thus from its genesis, these non-diffident actors were labeled as “dissidents” by the Hollywood Reporter. It is a pattern that continues at the Reporter.

There are those who will profess that dissident is not necessarily a negative word, and in a sense they would be right. But, in today’s world, unfortunately, the word has a negative connotation of a wild-eyed radical— which is why those who prefer a complaint union use it at every opportunity.

It’s pretty obvious that when a Restore Respect “go-along-to-get-along” member like Jamie Cromwell says “It’s vital that we elect reasonable, rational board members” He is in sync with the Power Brokers and their media echoes in labeling non-compliant Membership First candidates as DISSIDENTS.

And, It is probably also the reason that even when “Candidate” Melissa Gilbert, back in September of 2001, “aimed biting criticism at SAG president William Daniels and his administration” that the Hollywood Reporter NEVER designated her and her supporters as Dissidents!

Here are some of the Reporter’s “Dissident” references.

Jan. 19, 1999

SAG exec counts himself out

The three staffers enraged SAG’s dissidents when they told the judge that they believed that members of the Performers’ Alliance — a group of dissident SAG board members to which Boggs belongs — had somehow switched the ballots after they counted them.

Jan. 13, 1999

Ex-judge can’t prove fraud in SAG balloting

Indeed, the board has become increasingly divided along political lines in the past year, with supporters of SAG president Richard Masur and the guild’s administration on one side, and a group of SAG dissidents called the Performers’ Alliance on the other.

Sep. 15, 1999

Angel tompkins in 4th SAG run

Masur heads a slate of candidates backed by a newly formed group of performers called ProAct (HR 9/1), while Daniels heads a slate of candidates fielded by a group of SAG dissidents called the Performers Alliance (HR 9/13).

Sep. 13, 1999

Roles cast for SAG dissidents

By David Robb

The Performers Alliance, the dissident faction of the Screen Actors Guild that’s headed by veteran actor William Daniels, has announced its slate of officer candidates for the SAG elections.

Nov. 10, 1997

SAG dissidents rule election but Masur back

The insurgent slate of candidates, called the Performers’ Alliance, won four of the five national officer seats they were contesting, and 15 of the 19 Hollywood board seats that were up for grabs.

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Nov. 26, 1997

Six SAG losers in board seats

By David Robb

Four of the replacementshad run unsuccessfully as members of a slate of candidates called the Performers’ Alliance, a group of SAG dissidents that won 15 of the 19 board seats and four of the five officer seats that they contested.

In my Hollywood Reporter Archive search, most of the references I was able to locate were in the late Nineties! I’m not exactly sure if this indicates that the Reporter has made none since then or that my search was not exacting enough.

If it’s the latter that would indicate that my snooping skills leave a lot to be desired. However, it’s the former, their recent “SAG dissident group sets slate” salvo could indicate that those Power Brokers sense that Melissa and her compliant tendencies have lost favor with the membership, and it’s time to drag out their Dissident Damage Control.

A.L. Miller SW Editor & Chief WOOF !

How about this as an equitable solution: The Reporter can designate Membership First candidates as the DISSIDENT slate as long as they label Restore Respect as the DIFFIDENT one!