Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 29 January 2015

Joan Rivers facing WGA charges

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers’ dispute with the writers of her US comedy show Fashion Police continues, with the funnywoman now facing charges from the Writers Guild of America East.

Variety reports the Writers Guild of America East has voted to send charges filed against the comedienne to a three-person council.

Joan, 80, is a longtime member of WGA East.

She faces allegations she violated the organisation’s rules “by writing and by performing showrunner duties for the E! Network show,” according to the outlet. Joan will have an opportunity to present her case to the board at a date to be determined.

Fashion Police sees Kelly Osbourne, Giuliana Rancic and George Kotsiopoulos as co-hosts critiquing celebrity fashion.

Joan’s 45-year-old daughter, Melissa Rivers, serves as a producer on the show.

Work ground to a halt on April 17 when the writers filed complaints with the state of California claiming executives at E! and Joan’s Rugby Productions, which jointly employ them, had not paid $1.5 million in wages and overtime.

The WGA reportedly helped to file the case against Joan and told their 12,000 members not to work on the show until all is settled.

WGA East released a statement about the ongoing feud Wednesday.

“The writers on that show are paid a fraction of industry-standard compensation and receive no health or pension benefits,” a spokesperson said.

“We are distressed by reports that Joan Rivers, who worked so hard to create an illustrious career, turned her back on other writers who are still building careers of their own.

“The question of whether she has, in fact, violated our working rules will be decided by the trial board. We cannot pre-judge the outcome, but we can say that it is a very serious matter when a member is accused of writing and showrunning on a non-covered show, and continuing to do so after the other writers have decided to go on strike for reasonable pay and benefits,” the statement concluded.

A representative for Joan told the New York Post’s Page Six in April that she “supports the Fashion Police writers, and wants a fair agreement for them”.

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