“It has come to our attention that elected leaders have been threatened,” he said in an email to the guild’s board of directors. “The threats range from one leader who was approached, verbally assaulted and then followed by a fellow member, to the most recent example of certain members asserting via social media posts that we should ‘get rid of’ our president ‘once and for all’ accompanied by a violent video GIF depicting someone shooting up a room full of people.”
The tweet in question was posted on Saturday by actress Daria Rumi, which then was retweeted Sunday by Adam Nelson, the spokesman for defeated Membership First presidential candidate Matthew Modine. Nelson, who is a member of the union, has apologized, and he and Rumi insist that it was never their intention to threaten Carteris.
“Let’s get rid of her once and for all!” Rumi tweeted alongside a clip from Scarface, in which Al Pacino’s Tony Montana blasts a roomful of armed men after yelling, “Say hello to my little friend!”
“This is unacceptable and must stop,” White told the board of directors. “While our union is a democracy and we fully support the right to free speech, we have an absolute zero tolerance for this kind of conduct. Bullying, harassment, and violent verbal and written attacks will not be tolerated. This is particularly the case as many of our members have faced the damaging experience of being stalked and even attacked during their careers. In an age when violence in the workplace and in public settings is something our entire nation is grappling with, there is simply no place in our union for bullying, violent discourse and threats of harm.”
Nelson said in a statement and tweet: “We sincerely apologize for the retweet which was performed in error and is expressly not a shared opinion,” said . “The retweet has since been undone, and Membership First affirmatively advocates only nonviolent protest of any election violations by Ms. Carteris.”
The tweet by Rumi, a Modine supporter, was in reply to a Nelson tweet about a challenge to Carteris’ election, filed by Membership First co-founder Brian Hamilton, which claimed that Carteris’ new BH90210 series was “a not-so-subtle national commercial” for her re-election campaign. Carteris’ camp called the allegations “preposterous.”
Rumi also apologized via Twitter:
“To be clear, I wrote tweet specifically about Gabrielle Carteris BH90210 electioneering,” Nelson said. “Dari Rumi wrote a reply to my tweet that said ‘Let’s get rid of her once and for all.’ I only saw the TEXT and did not see her attached GIF when retweeting…As you know, retweets do not imply endorsements. In this case we offered an apology to anyone who may have viewed the accidental retweet which was only posted online a short time before realizing the mistake.”
In his apology, Nelson tweeted: “We sincerely apologize for a retweet which was performed in error and is expressly not a shared opinion. The retweet has since been undone. #MembershipFirst affirmatively advocates only nonviolent protest of any election violations by Ms. Carteris.”
Rumi, a Modine supporter, wrote that “For sake of argument if my intention was/is to hurt/threat GC (Gabrielle Carteris) u think I will post it on social media? The post was about the election violations by GC. No sense of humor whatsoever, in this country everybody gets paranoid.”
She later followed up with a tweet saying that “if you wanna blame someone blame me. I post it and take full responsibility.” She also tweeted to Membership First: “It was not my intention to cause you any trouble n unleash the dogs from hell, the tweet was mine n mine only. I will never do anything to jeopardize any of u as I respect the hard honest work ur doing for us, but I can’t say the same about GC.”
Patricia Richardson, the newly elected president of the union’s Los Angeles local – and a running mate of Modine’s – said that Nelson’s “retweet was a mistake,” and that “this is not cool in this day and age with guns. Apologies to Gabby this is not us.”
In a joint statement, Carteris’ Unite for Strength slate and its USAN affiliate condemned Membership First. “To say that we are shocked and appalled is an understatement. They have broken trust and forsaken the personal safety of a SAG-AFTRA member volunteer to score political points. Regardless of any attempted damage control after the fact, it is simply inexcusable that a campaign would ever consider promoting this incitement of violence. Especially at a time in our country when the threat of gun violence is all too real. We will not back down in the face of hate. This is further proof of how important our union is to protecting the health, well-being, and safety of all members.”
White, meanwhile, told the board: “If you or someone you know is aware of this kind of conduct, please report it to the union immediately. If you see something, say something. To those who have filed reports, thank you for remaining alert and taking action to notify the union of those instances of threatening misconduct. We all deserve to live in an environment free from this kind of aggression and harassment. I will have more to say about this when our governing bodies meet in the coming weeks. In the meantime be safe, be vigilant and immediately report any inappropriate aggression to the union.”
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