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SAG-AFTRA stunt athletes press leaders on racist allegations

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SAG-AFTRA has long acknowledged the difficulties faced by divers performers looking to establish themselves as stunt professional and has agreed into our primary television and film contract language that requires producers and stunt coordinators to consider and strive to give candidates with disabilities roles for stunt roles.

SAG-AFTRA leaders are pressed to respond to their stunts abuses of racism, nepotism, intimidation and slander.

The issue arisen from an open letter on Wednesday from stunt performers who are BIPOC, females, LGBTQ+ and people with disabilities. Signees said that their talents are ignored, denied and discredited, professional opportunities are foreclosed and careers are foreshortened.

“We saw from the outside as white stunt-producers painted down, dressed / helmeted or men furrowed in a grotesque simulation of those of us denied employment,” they said. He says: “Modern-day blackface is Hollywood’s shameful secret. We were taunted, ostracized, harassed, and threatened because we appeared or sounded up just for expressing ourselves. Long enough we have been shut down, closed and shut out.

The performers union responded by saying: “SAG-AFTRA stands in solidarity with performers whose opportunities in stunt roles have been denied or limited because of prejudice against women, minorities and performers with disabilities. SAG-AFTRA has long recognized the difficulties faced by diverse performers seeking to establish themselves as stunt professionals and has agreed into our primary television and film contract language that requires producers and stunt coordinators to consider and strive to give candidates with disabilities roles for stunt roles. Our contract also explicitly addresses the practice of ‘painting down’ and provides that this practice is ‘presumptively inappropriate’. ”

The union also said it is investigating an allegation that an unnamed national board member of SAG-AFTRA has been engaged in a stunt-doubling role in violation of these provisions and principles. It also added that the complaint has been brought to its attention only recently.

SAG-AFTRA said “We are reviewing and will take whatever action is necessary and appropriate to enforce our contract”.

The group of stunt performers requested that this topic be addressed at the next National Board meeting and that the board form a special investigative task force consisting of members from both within and outside the stunt community, with appropriate racial, gender and geographic diversity, to report on specific measures.

The letter was signed by Crystal Santos, Jwaundace Candece, LaFaye Baker, Geo Corvera, Melissa Tracy, John Kreng, Janeisha Adams-Ginyard, Michelle Elise Shock, Dino Dos Santos, Alicia Carlano, Ron Balicki, Robert Samuels, Robert Redfeather, Laura Cordova, Edwin Garcia, Shawn Balentine, Manny Ayala, Keisha Tucker, Arnold Chon and Kathy Jarvis.

There are approximately 1,480 SAG-AFTRA stunt performers in Los Angeles and 2,200 in the United States.

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