When Stars Collide: The SAG-AFTRA Election Takes An Ugly Turn

The fight for control of the union that represents 160,000 actors is getting very dramatic.
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As the race for control of the nation’s biggest actors’ union turns increasingly volatile, Unite for Strength—the SAG-AFTRA ruling party supporting union presidential candidate Fran Drescher—is calling on Matthew Modine and his upstart MembershipFirst party to denounce the “rhetoric of hate” from unnamed Modine supporters on the union’s board whom the Uniters claim are cultists and racists. Members of Modine’s camp, meanwhile, have retaliated by threatening to sue their opponents over the allegations and denouncing Drescher for spreading what they claim are anti-vax and 5G conspiracy theories.

As Deadline reports, Unite for Strength fired the first salvo in the latest union skirmish with a tweet on Sunday that accused Modine supporters on the union’s board of various acts of malfeasance.

“We challenge Matthew Modine and MembershipFirst to publicly renounce and discontinue harboring the MF (MembershipFirst) Board members who denied George Floyd’s murder, amplified death threats, joined up with the NXIVM cult, threatened to shoot supporters of vaccination requirements, called the January 6th insurrection a ‘set up’ by ‘paid operators,’ falsely spread that Black Lives Matter is a hate group funded by George Soros, and voted against a task force to increase diversity in the stunt community. We condemn this rhetoric of hate.”

Among other “evidence” the pro-Drescher crew dug up, a Twitter post last month in which an alleged Modine supporter said of COVID vaccines, “Over half the US population is continuing to say no to this unapproved experimental gene therapy,” adding, “#SecondAmendmentIsForThis.”

Drescher fans have also gone after a Modine-supporting local board member who was photographed next to a person accused of belonging to the Nxivm sex cult. That board member’s lawyer, James Wohl, complained to Deadline that the pic in question is “completely out of context. Guilt by association does not sit well with me. You happen to be sitting next to somebody and they take a picture of you, and that implies association? It’s horrible.”

Several Uniters jumped on the thread demanding that the Full Metal Jacket star and his running mate, secretary-treasurer candidate Joely Fisher, cast off the support of these nameless trolls. Drescher’s ballot partner, Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp, was among them. “Yes, please, any leader of @MembershipFirst,” Rapp tweeted, “especially @MatthewModine & @MsJoelyFisher–please address these concerns.”

Although Unite for Strength provided Deadline with screenshots of articles, tweets, and Facebook posts they say identify the unnamed culprits, a MembershipFirst source countered, “We have no response to this bullshit. The lawyers are involved and they’re dealing with it. Let them name names, and they better start putting all of their properties in trust. It’s all bullshit. They won’t debate the issues.”

Some MembershipFirsters also want a little social media scrutiny focused on Drescher, a cancer survivor who they say has linked 5G cellphone tech to the big C.

“I can’t believe all the commercials for 5G,” The Nanny star tweeted in May 2020. “Gr8 4cancer, harming birds, bees & mor viruses like Corona. Dial it bac. Keep it simple. B a mindFUL consumer the @cancerschmancer way. Make what you buy ur vote & what u don’t buy ur PROTEST. We can do this. God is speaking. Let’s LISTEN.”

Twitter posted a notice on that tweet, dismissing it as unscientific.

Though she now supports employer-mandated COVID vaccinations, Drescher has previously voiced concerns about the dangers of vaccines, including in an interview with Los Angeles Magazine last year. Her former husband, Indian entrepreneur Shiva Ayyadurai, is a leading anti-vax crusader who has blasted Anthony Fauci as a “deep-state actor” and raised questions about the origins of COVID.

On Saturday, Modine tweeted, “I support our industry-wide COVID & VACCINE Protocols. We believe in the science. It’s in everyone’s best interest 2 have the safest sets possible & MF stands behind COVID safety, including employers’ discretion 2 require everyone who can, be fully vaxxed.”

Drescher replied, “I said that about a month ago. What took you so long?”

Ballots will be counted on September 2nd, not a moment to soon for battle-weary union members.


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