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IATSE Members Narrowly Authorize New Contract

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The close vote gives union members a three-year contract that includes an annual pay raise, among other changes.


IATSE Ratifies New Contract

Just a month after nearly taking to the picket lines, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) narrowly ratified a three-year contract Monday for over 60,000 of its union members.

Voter turnout in the major Hollywood union was high, with 72% of eligible members voting. The IATSE’s voting system is similar to an electoral college. Members vote within their local union, and each local union is assigned delegates based on their size. Those delegates then vote to ratify or reject based on the members’ majority vote.

The first part of the contract, the Basic Agreement, passed by a vote of 256 to 188. The second part, the Area Standards Agreement, passed by just 103 to 94. The popular vote was even tighter, with a combined 50.3% of members rejecting both contracts and just 49.7% signaling their approval. 

“From start to finish, from preparation to ratification, this has been a democratic process to win the very best contracts,” IATSE International President Matthew Loeb said in a statement. “The vigorous debate, high turnout, and close election, indicates we have an unprecedented movement-building opportunity to educate members on our collective bargaining process and drive more participation in our union long-term.”

The IATSE represents thousands of people who work behind the scenes on film and television productions. Earlier this year, contract negotiations between the group and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers stalled, prompting the union to authorize a strike vote in October. While the strike was avoided, members made it clear that they wanted adjustments to their long and often unsafe work hours, more sufficient rest periods, fair pay for work on streaming projects, and better pay for staffers who work on the lowest positions on various sets. 

What’s in the Contract?

According to the IATSE, those needs have been addressed in the new contracts. In a statement, the union said there are provisions guaranteeing “adequate rest at the end of the workday and on the weekend,” along with meal breaks and financial penalties if those breaks are violated. The statement added that the contracts include wage increases, agreements to lift those at the bottom of the pay scale out of poverty, as well as better wages and conditions for those employed on streaming projects. 

“Our goal was to achieve fair contracts that work for IATSE members in television and film—that address quality-of-life issues and conditions on the job like rest and meal breaks,” Loeb said. “We met our objectives for this round of bargaining and built a strong foundation for future agreements.”

As evidenced by the tight vote, however, not everyone in the union is pleased with the new contracts. Some believe the pay bump, which guarantees a 3% annual raise, is not enough, especially considering surging inflation rates. Others are frustrated that the contract still allows for workers to spend 14-hour days on sets, a timeframe many argue is dangerous to the health of union members. 

The contracts last until 2024 when the union can meet producers at the bargaining table for another round of talks.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Los Angeles Times) (Variety

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Ethan Klein Slams Defamation Lawsuit Filed by Ryan Kavanaugh: “He Wields the Legal System Like a Malignant Tyrant”

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In response to the defamation claims, the podcast host argued that his criticisms of Kavanaugh are based on published news articles from reputable media outlets.


Ryan Kavanaugh Files Lawsuit Against Ethan Klein 

YouTuber and “H3 Podcast” host Ethan Klein issued a statement to Rogue Rocket on Tuesday condemning a lawsuit filed against him by media mogul Ryan Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh, a movie producer and co-founder of the social media app Triller, wrote an essay earlier that same day announcing the lawsuit. The tension between the two parties, however, stems back to when Triller sued Klein for allegedly pirating and broadcasting one of its marquee fights between Jake Paul and Ben Askren in April. 

Klein has argued that the short clip he played from the program falls under fair use. Meanwhile, Kavanaugh claims that amid this Triller legal battle, Klein has “posted more than eight podcasts disparaging” him with defamatory remarks. This prompted him to file the separate suit against Klein personally Tuesday.

“He has posted video after video attacking and slandering me personally, despite the fact that, while I am a shareholder and co-founder, I am not Triller,” Kavanaugh wrote.

Among other claims, Kavanaugh alleged that Klein has falsely accused him of not paying his nanny and receiving two DUIs. Kavanaugh also accused Klein of repeatedly taking a Variety article that accused him of running a Ponzi scheme out of context and not clarifying that the accusation at hand had been revoked.

Kavanaugh additionally alleged that Klein encouraged his followers to carry out online attacks against him. He claimed his reputation was further harmed when Klein allegedly had bots edit Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia page with negative information and give poor reviews of the Triller app.

“All of this amounts to textbook malicious behavior, intended to harm me and Triller,” Kavanaugh wrote. “This leaves me with no choice but to sue. One malignant internet personality with a large following—the equivalent of an angry child with a loaded gun—can cause disproportionate harm to anyone, using lies, slander, and SEO, and suffer few if any consequences.”

According to a screenshot of the lawsuit Kavanaugh posted to Instagram, he is accusing Klein of defamation and defamation by implication. 

Ethan Klein Denies Accusations

In his statement to Rogue Rocket, Klein denied the accusations. 

“​​Ryan Kavanaugh’s first malicious lie is that he claims I pirated his event,” Klein wrote. “Fair use is at the heart of this lawsuit, same as with our first lawsuit. We used a short clip of the event during an extremely critical commentary during a 3 hour podcast. Ryan Kavanaugh tries to blame me for his event being widely pirated which is pure defamation. We didn’t even react to the event until days after it was streamed on PPV. If he cared about pirates why did he drop all of his other lawsuits against actual pirates but only kept the one against me?”

Klein added that he has not told his fans to harass Kavanaugh and has actually discouraged them from doing so on multiple occasions. Klein also said he did not make up allegations that Kavanaugh received a DUI or did not pay his nanny, citing links to articles by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, and Fox San Diego that previously reported on these cases. 

I am not creating any of these claims, but merely reading what has already been published by well respected news sources. How is that defamation?” he said.

Klein went on to argue that he repeatedly made it clear on his “H3 Podcast” that the allegations mentioned in the Variety article were eventually revoked. Klein then wrote that if Kavanaugh “has a problem with the article,” he should “take it up with Variety, one of the most trusted news sources in entertainment, not me.”

The YouTuber noted that he has only encouraged his followers to provide honest reviews for the Triller app and believes that Kavanaugh is unjustifiably placing full blame for poor reviews on him when there are other factors to consider. 

“He claims I am solely responsible for every 1 star review Triller has received, despite one of Triller’s stars and equity holders Noah Beck making a TikTok complaining about the app being flipped,” Klein claimed. 

Klein additionally shared quotes from other articles written about Kavanaugh in which he was previously been accused of being dishonest. 

“Ryan Kavanaugh is a business elite who is used to suing, harassing and breaking the law with no consequences,” Klein continued. “He wields the legal system like a malignant tyrant, uses it to silence his critics, and now to stifle fair use, something we all on youtube should care about.”

In a Twitter thread, he further accused Kavanaugh of trying to get him banned from YouTube and said Kavanaugh has allegedly sent him a “threatening” message on Instagram. 

For his part, Kavanaugh spent much of Tuesday promoting his lawsuit on social media. 

“For people who just blindly believe what Ethan is preaching he is lying and by doing his bidding you are helping him harm a lot of people while putting millions in his pocket,” he alleged in one Instagram post.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Insider)

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Gucci Family Slams “House of Gucci” as “Far From Accurate”

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The heirs to the designer legacy said they were not consulted during the production of the Ridley Scott picture.


Gucci Family Addresses “House of Gucci”

Members of the Gucci family released a statement Monday condemning their “far from accurate” portrayal in Ridley Scott’s latest film “House of Gucci.”

The film stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani, who was convicted for hiring a hitman to carry out the murder of her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci, played by Adam Driver. Other members of the designer dynasty are played by Academy Award-winning actors Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto. 

“House of Gucci” has received mixed reviews from critics, but the Gucci family has made it clear they are not fans of the picture. They first released their scathing statement to Italian news agency ANSA. Variety published a full English translation of the release.

“The production of the film did not bother to consult the heirs before describing Aldo Gucci – president of the company for 30 years – and the members of the Gucci family as thugs, ignorant and insensitive to the world around them, attributing to the protagonists, events, a tone and an attitude that never belonged to them,” the statement said. “This is extremely painful from a human point of view and an insult to the legacy on which the brand is built today.”

The Gucci heirs specifically slammed the depiction of Reggiani. The family argued that the film crossed a line by “suggesting an indulgent tone towards a woman who [was] definitively convicted of having been the instigator of the murder of Maurizio Gucci.”

“[She] is painted not only in the film, but also in the statements made by cast members, as a victim who was trying to survive in a masculine and macho corporate culture,” the statement continues. “This couldn’t be further from the truth.” 

It closes by saying the Gucci family “does not deserve to be disturbed to stage a film that is not true and that does not do justice to its protagonists.”

“The members of the Gucci family reserves every right to protect the name, image and the dignity of their loved ones.”

Other Inside Criticisms of The Film

This is not the first time the family has criticized “House of Gucci.” Back in April, Patrizia Gucci, one of Mauricio’s second cousins, told the Associated Press that the production was “stealing the identity of a family to make a profit.”

Scott dismissed the criticisms in an interview with BBC

“I don’t engage with that,” he told the outlet. “You have to remember that one Gucci was murdered and another went to jail for tax evasion so you can’t be talking to me about making a profit. As soon as you do that you become part of the public domain.”

Designer Tom Ford, who is briefly played by Reeve Carney in the film, also slammed “House of Gucci” in an essay for Air Mail. He compared some scenes to a “Saturday Night Live” parody and said he felt as though he “had lived through a hurricane” when the film ended. Ford’s largest issue, though, was how the film treated a real-life death. 

“It was hard for me to see the humor and camp in something that was so bloody,” he wrote. “In real life, none of it was camp. It was at times absurd, but ultimately it was tragic.”

See what others are saying: (Variety) (BBC News) (New York Times)

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Recording Academy CEO Defends Nominations After Controversial Nods to Marilyn Manson and Louis C.K.

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CEO Harvey Mason Jr. said the Academy is not “in the business of restricting people” from getting nominated.


Recording Academy CEO Defends Nominations

Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. defended Tuesday’s Grammy nominations after artists like Marilyn Manson and Louis C.K. received nods for their work. 

Manson was nominated for his appearance on Kanye West’s album “Donda,” which landed in the Album of The Year category. Earlier this year, Manson was accused of sexual assault, rape, and psychological abuse by multiple victims.

C.K., who previously admitted to sexual misconduct, was nominated for Best Comedy Album. 

While speaking to The Wrap, Mason argued that the Recording Academy should not consider an artist’s personal life in its nomination process. 

“We won’t restrict the people who can submit their material for consideration,” he told the outlet when specifically asked about Manson’s nomination. “We won’t look back at people’s history, we won’t look at their criminal record, we won’t look at anything other than the legality within our rules of, is this recording for this work eligible based on date and other criteria. If it is, they can submit for consideration.”

Even though Mason believes artists with serious accusations levied against them should not be excluded from nominations, he did say the Academy will consider those factors when it comes to performances and other on-camera appearances. 

“What we will control is our stages, our shows, our events, our red carpets,” he explained. “We’ll take a look at anyone who is asking to be a part of that, asking to be in attendance, and we’ll make our decisions at that point. But we’re not going to be in the business of restricting people from submitting their work for our voters to decide on.”

Other Controversial Nods

Manson and C.K. were not the only controversial figures who received nominations. Comedian Dave Chappelle was nominated in Best Spoken Word Album for his special “8:46.” Last month, he faced severe backlash for transphobic comments he made in a separate special titled “The Closer.” Chappelle was slammed by several major LGBTQ+ organizations over the special but has defended himself against criticisms. 

Rapper DaBaby was also condemned by LGBTQ+ groups this summer after he made homophobic remarks during her performance at the Rolling Loud festival in Miami. He received Grammy recognition for his work on “Donda” and Justin Bieber’s “Justice.”

The Grammy Awards will be held in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, 2022.

See what others are saying: (The Wrap) (Pitchfork) (Rolling Stone)

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