c-title pmc-u-font-size-20 pmc-u-font-size-38@tablet pmc-u-font-size-46@desktop-xl u-text-align-center@mobile-max u-letter-spacing-0025 pmc-u-line-height-normal u-line-height-45@tablet pmc-u-padding-t-1 pmc-u-padding-t-050@mobile-max”>SAG-AFTRA Task Force To Investigate “Wigging” & “Paint-Downs”
By David Robb
More Stories By David
October 30, 2020 9:22pm
SAG-AFTRA’s national board, at a contentious meeting tonight, passed a resolution to form a task force to “investigate and address” issues involving “paint-downs” and “wigging.” The motion was brought to the board by SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris.
The move, which was opposed by five stunt performers serving on the board, comes after dozens of stuntmen and women signed a letter sent Sept. 30 to the leadership of SAG-AFTRA calling for an end to “wigging” – the age-old practice of putting wigs and dresses on stuntmen so they can double for actresses – and “paint-downs,” in which dark make-up is applied to white stunt performers so that they can double for actors of color.
Stunt Performers Call On SAG-AFTRA To End “Paint-Downs” And “Wigging”
Saying that “legitimate questions and disturbing allegations have been raised by a number of stunt professionals about the hiring practices, ‘paint downs,’ ‘wigging,’ and other discriminatory practices that continue to surface during productions throughout the entertainment industry,” the resolution authorizes the Task Force to look into:
• “Employers who require or encourage hiring practices, or any other practice, that continue the scourge of discrimination against stunt performers including possible violations of federal and state anti-discrimination laws;
• “Stunt coordinators that engage in, authorize, or otherwise support practices that discriminate against stunt professionals in protected groups, including by creating a discriminatory and hostile environment;
• “Stunt performers that engage in ‘paint downs,’ ‘wigging,’ and other discriminatory practices on productions throughout the industry.
• “Retaliation suffered by stunt performers and stunt coordinators who bring these issues to light, including threats to their safety and working conditions.”
The resolution notes that the union “is committed to ensuring the work of the entertainment industry reflects the full diversity and inclusion that constitutes the American scene,” and that “the leadership and membership of SAG-AFTRA are committed to the elimination of racism, sexism, homophobia, disability discrimination, ageism, and other forms of discrimination that block work opportunities and impede the career paths of professionals within our membership and industry.” It also notes that “these practices may involve decisions made by members of the stunt community as well as by producers.”
The resolution was opposed by the union’s main opposition group, Membership First, and by all five stunt performers serving on the board, who argued that safety should always be the first priority, and that the resolution could tie the hands of stunt coordinators in their hiring decisions, which could lead to more on-set accidents and injuries. “Every stunt person on the national board voted against it,” said board member and stuntman Peter Antico.
In other actions, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief operating officer and general counsel, provided a report on the ongoing jurisdictional dispute with Actors’ Equity over the taping of stage productions, noting that the union had filed a formal jurisdictional complaint with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America and a request for mediation with the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees.
SAG-Producers Pension Plan CEO Michael Estrada and AFTRA Retirement Fund CEO Christine Dubois reported that both funds are in the so-called “Green Zone” and “are stable and safe with a positive outlook.”
Secretary-treasurer Camryn Manheim and CFO Arianna Ozzanto reported that” third-quarter actuals are on plan and tracking to budget.”
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