Warners Bros caught out lying about Union - the spin starts to unravel
Emails undermine studio's claims about Hobbit strikes
Warner Bros and actors' unions were ready to bury the hatchet at the beginning of this week but the studio was today still talking about its fear of industrial action derailing The Hobbit movies, a series of emails shows.
The films' backers are Warner Bros, MGM and New Line Cinema, which have been at odds with the unions NZ Actors' Equity, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) and the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) over actors' contracts for the US$500 million ($669m) production.
Warner Bros representatives will be in New Zealand next week "to make arrangements to move the production offshore", the movies' director Sir Peter Jackson said today.
The backers were "now, quite rightly, very concerned about the security of their investment", as the dispute between the actors and the studio dragged out.
However, a series of emails between Warner Bros and the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG), sighted by NZPA, showed the two parties were discussing the wording of a press release announcing the settlement of the dispute from as early as Monday, US time.
Yet this morning, New Line Cinema said in a statement that reports the boycott of The Hobbit was lifted by unions a number of days ago and that Warner Bros asked to delay this announcement were false.
Well, well, well. What do we have here, emails clearly pointing out that Warner Bros had their assurance from the Actors, but they are still claiming they don't despite the emails showing they did. Why is that? Because this has NEVER been about the bloody Actors and it has had EVERYTHING to do with Warner Bros muscling the Government for a higher Tax Rebate.
Those NZers who have been so easily manipulated into jumping up and down screaming it's all the Actor's fault/Unions fault/Helen Kelly's fault, have been played like stoned Hobbits in the Shire.
Let me write the script for the rest of the Hobbit now. There's a bullshit John Key arse kissing pretending to be a 'positivity' march next week, to coincide with Warner Bros arriving, John Key gives them the higher rebate, he 'saves' the Hobbit, looks like the great 'deal maker' all the while damning the Unions. Simple minded NZers lap it up and the real issues of working people highlighted by the 15000-22000 protesters at the beginning of the week are totally eclipsed by Union bashing hysteria.
This was NEVER about the Actor's, it was ALWAYS about the tax rebate.
NZers are so easily manipulated and led in this country when it comes to a good old fashioned Union lynching, I wonder if Peter Jackson will add most of reactionary NZ into the Cast credits at the end of the movie?
Oh and so we get the fucking timetable straight as so much spin has muddied this debate - FOR THE RECORD the Actors had asked for a collective agreement before the boycott has been issued, the lie spread so far is that it was the Actor's opening gambit and 'what else did they expect'...
Last month, Actors Equity arranged an international boycott of the movies when Sir Peter refused to hold talks on a union-negotiated collective agreement on wages and conditions for local actors.
Sir Peter said a collective agreement would expose his company Wingnut to unfair liabilities and sanctions under New Zealand law.
The studios backing the film said the actors would be employed as independent contractors, with pay and conditions based on the local industry's standard working conditions.
The Screen Actors Guild and British actors joined the work blacklist of The Hobbit, which is expected to include Sir Ian McKellen reprising the role of the wizard Gandalf from the Lord of the Rings movies.
In a statement posted on Wednesday on its website, the Screen Actors Guild advised members it had lifted its blacklist on The Hobbit after advice from the New Zealand union and that members were free to work on the film.
...and that Wednesday statement was after the Monday agreement between Warner Bros and the Union.
The angering thing is that if John Key had simply made the argument for a higher tax rebate for The Hobbit, he could have convinced most NZers, sure it would be more corporate welfare when he is slashing domestic welfare, but we all luuuuuuuuuuurve the Hobbit, so he could have made the case on pretty strong interventionist grounds, but instead John Key has decided to be as divisive on the Union movement as Robert Muldoon was with the Springbok tour.