In a three-minute video titled “Dear Joan: Can We Talk” and released Tuesday by the Writers Guild of America West, several of the strikers — Todd Masterson, Bryan Cook, Ned Rice and Eliza Skinner — expressed disappointment that Rivers, a WGA member, has opposed their efforts.
“We’re just asking for fair compensation,” Skinner said in the video. “It’s sad to me that she won’t give us that.”
The stoppage started April 17 after writers filed complaints with the state of California alleging that E! and Rivers’ Rugby Prods., which jointly employ the scribes, had not paid $1.5 million in wages and overtime. The WGA, which assisted in the filing of the claims, is sanctioning the strike and has told the 12,000 members not to work on the show until the matter is settled.
E! has said repeatedly that it will not grant the writers union recognition without an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. The WGA has responded by asserting that the requirement of an NLRB election is a stalling tactic.
Rivers has repeatedly declined to comment on the strike. E! issued a statement Tuesday that blasted the strikers for attacking Rivers.
“Joan Rivers has been and remains emphatically supportive of the writers,” the statement said. “Her company does not produce Fashion Police nor set the compensation of E! Networks Productions’ writers. The personal attacks on Joan are grossly unfair and inaccurate.”
The guild drew over 150 supporters to a May 23 rally outside E! headquarters in Los Angeles — the largest organized by the WGA West since the 2007-08 strike.