Calling striking Fashion Police scribes “schmuck writers” and “idiots”, Joan Rivers is back in hot water with the Writers Guild of America East. “Her latest statement egregiously violates the spirit of the rest of the settlement,” said Michael Winship, President of the WGA East today (see his full statement below). “We are exploring all options.” Rivers made the comments in an interview last week with comedy site, Splitsider. In contrast to her pro-guild stance of just over a month ago after the comedian and long time Guild member avoided an October 14 disciplinary hearing in NYC to determine whether the E! host had violated the union’s rules by writing and performing showrunner duties for the show during the strike, Rivers now appears to have changed sides. “E! is right. They wanted writers to take a vote before they went out and decided to strike and the WGA wanted them to negotiate to not take a vote,” she said in the online interview.
Fashion Police writers have been on strike since April seeking more than $1 million in back wages and overtime. They are backed by the WGA in their fight. After risking being possibly being kicked out of the WGA East, Rivers’ took a very different tone on the writers’ situation last month. “As part of the resolution of the Charges, Ms. Rivers has agreed not to write during the strike and to meet with E! to advocate for immediate contract negotiations in support of the Fashion Police writers,” said the Guild and Rivers in a joint statement on October 7 canceling the disciplinary hearing. No such negotiations have occurred and now the ball is back in the WGA East’s court.
In the meantime, here’s Winship’s statement in full:
The Writers Guild of America, East, has been made aware of Ms. Joan River’s recent derisive and crude comments about the hardworking and mistreated writers of Fashion Police, who have been on strike for months trying to gain union representation and the redress of terrible wages and working conditions. What she has said is not only reprehensible but flies in the face of a settlement with the WGAE to which she agreed. How dare she at first proclaim solidarity with fellow writers and then so crassly stab them in the back? She should be ashamed of herself, although it is clear that the concept of shame does not trouble what little conscience she has. Because the strike continues, she must continue to refuse to write, but her latest statement egregiously violates the spirit of the rest of the settlement. We are exploring all options.