Gabrielle Carteris is not seeking re-election as president of SAG-AFTRA and has thrown her support behind Fran Drescher to succeed her in the union’s election later this summer. The Nanny star also has the support of Unite for Strength, the union’s ruling party that Carteris has led since becoming president in 2016.
Camryn Manheim, the union’s secretary-treasurer and Carteris’ running mate in 2019, also is not seeking re-election. Anthony Rapp, who stars on Star Trek: Discovery, is aiming for that post as Drescher’s running mate and also has the support of Unite for Strength. Drescher and Rapp have taken out petitions to run for their respective offices; she needed 200 signatures by 5 p.m. Thursday evening to qualify for the ballot, and he needed 150. Both received the necessary signatures.
The Unite for Strength steering group, which includes Carteris and several other guild leaders, sent an email earlier today to supporters, accompanied by links to Drescher and Rapp’s petitions, urging them to “Please sign the following petitions IMMEDIATELY,” noting that they were “racing against the clock” to get the required number of petitions signed by the deadline.
Carteris, who starred on Beverly Hills, 90210, became SAG-AFTRA president on April 9, 2016, upon the death of president Ken Howard after serving two terms as executive vice president. She won election in 2017, and was re-elected in 2019.
Matthew Modine, who Carteris defeated two years ago, is running for president again on the dissident Membership First slate, with running mate Joely Fisher.
In a statement, Carteris said: “I am so pleased to have served the members of SAG-AFTRA for the last five and a half years and it is with joy and humility that I pass the baton to a new team of experienced and dedicated leaders who will guide the union into the future. With Fran Drescher at the helm, I know our union and our membership are in great hands. It’s bittersweet to move on, but I do so with gratitude and great confidence in Fran and the remarkable Anthony Rapp.”
Said Drescher: “I’m honored to have been asked to run. I hope to apply my experience as the president of the Cancer Schmancer Movement and my success on Capitol Hill and as a Public Diplomacy Envoy for uniting our union, increasing member benefits and giving our 160k strong membership a more significant presence on the national landscape.”
Said Rapp: “I have been a proud union member since I was 9 years old. My decades of work have afforded me a platform that I strive to use as a voice for the voiceless, and as a champion for acceptance, inclusion, safety, and opportunity for all. As secretary-treasurer, I will be a responsible steward of our union’s resources, to help ensure that all generations of our members can have a bright and protected future.”
Added Manheim: “We would be so incredibly lucky to have Fran Drescher leading our union. She has seen this industry from every angle, and has the leadership experience and fortitude to get things done. She is smart, direct, fierce, and thoughtful. She has also shown remarkable resilience in the face of harrowing personal challenges, and then turned those negative experiences into empowerment and activism on the national stage. She has the knowledge, grit, and dedication to engage and make real progress. Anthony Rapp is a fierce warrior and a gentle giant. Having just served as secretary-treasurer through this incredibly challenging pandemic, I know that Anthony has the financial acumen and fiscal responsibility to safeguard our finances and protect our members. This stellar team will bring innovative ideas and fresh perspectives.”
Carteris and Manheim aren’t leaving guild politics, however, as both as running for seats on the SAG-AFTRA national board under the Unite for Strength banner. Election ballots will be mailed to members on August 3 and tabulated on September 2.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.