Esai Morales, SAG-AFTRA, MembershipFirst

Esai Morales is on a mission. He’s running for president of SAG-AFTRA, but more importantly, he says, he’s on a crusade to change the union’s culture. The union’s current leaders, he says, have put their own “petty partisan politics over the needs of the members, and that needs to change.”

And now he’s threatening to file an election complaint against his main opponent – SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris – if those “petty politics” continue.

Carteris’ Unite For Strength slate has denigrated Morales’ long service to the guild, calling him “No Show Morales” because his busy work schedule prevented him from attending many local board meetings. “Leaders show up,” they said in a recent tweet.

“I find it distasteful that they impugn my service, using questionable and selective numbers and refusing to talk about the issues, like voter apathy and pension disparity,” he told Deadline in a freewheeling telephone interview from Budapest, where he’s filming the Ron Howard-directed miniseries Mars.

And now his slate is fighting back, putting Carteris on notice that they will file an election fraud complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor if she wins a local board seat in the upcoming election and gives it up so she can be replaced by one of her supporters, as she did two years ago. Ballots from members are due back August 24.


Esai Morales Scuffles With Security Guard At Wild SAG-AFTRA Meeting

by David Robb   July 17, 2017 10:47am

UPDATED with video of post-meeting chaos, below: Tempers flared at a raucous SAG-AFTRA informational meeting in Burbank yesterday when a security guard grabbed presidential candidate Esai Morales and tussled with him, yanking the microphone out of his hands as he tried to speak to the members from the floor about his opposition to the union’s new film and TV contract.

“He snatched the mic out of my hand, and I don’t like it when people to do that,” Morales told Deadline after the meeting. “It was a tussle for the mic. It became a tug of war, and I’m not to be pushed around. I wasn’t there to throw blows; I was there to speak my mind. I was full of adrenaline and I didn’t know where we were going to take this.”

No punches were thrown, but the incident shows the deepening divide within the guild as it holds an election and a contract ratification vote at the same time. “There was much dissension in the room over many issues,” said Peter Antico, who is also running for president of the union.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, who is seeking re-election, chaired the meeting, and had to call it to order numerous times, warning people they’d be removed from the room if they didn’t stop shouting from the floor.

Ric Reitz, President Of SAG-AFTRA Atlanta Local, Shared Secrets Of Hiring Actors On The Cheap

by David Robb    August 3rd 2017

    One side has accused the other of being “carpetbaggers” who are plotting secretly to undermine Georgia’s booming film and TV industry in order to drive the work back home to Los Angeles, while the other claims that incumbent SAG-AFTRA Atlanta President Ric Reitz has so many conflicts of interest he shouldn’t even have been allowed to seek re-election.

    Amidst the accusations and name-calling, a podcast from 2014, sent anonymously to Deadline, has surfaced in which Reitz can be heard criticizing his fellow actors and advising producers how to use a “magic formula” to hire stars on the cheap – surprising advice coming from the president of a major SAG-AFTRA local covering all of Georgia and South Carolina.

    Reitz, seeking a third two-year term at the top of the Union Strong Atlanta (USA) slate, is not only a busy actor but a Georgia film tax credits broker, connecting buyers with sellers of tax credits and helping companies obtain them. His business partner and running mate, actor and attorney Wilbur Fitzgerald, is vying for a seat on the local’s board.

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    Actors speak out in light of upcoming SAG/AFTRA election

    Barbara Burke, Freelance Reporter  9:10 am PDT August 16, 2017

    It’s not the ideal battle of the stars.

    As the elections concerning the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, better known as SAG-AFTRA, rage on, stars of all backgrounds gathered at a Malibu home July 31 in support of the Membership First slate. 

    The slate opposes the Unite for Strength slate for leadership of the organization’s 165,000 members. 

    Ballots for the national, Los Angeles and New York elections were sent to members on July 25 and are due by Aug. 24. Those results will determine who will serve both in key offices, including president, secretary-treasurer and most board positions. In October, members will hold the SAG-AFTRA convention, where they will elect an executive vice president and seven vice presidents.  

    SAG and AFTRA merged five years ago and the marriage has not been the most harmonious. 

    Esai Morales, a current board member best known for his role in “NYPD Blue,” faces incumbent Gabrielle Carteris for the presidency. Carteris was named to serve out the term of Ken Howard in April 2016 after Howard died. Stuntman Peter Antico is running as an independent. 

    At the Malibu event, Morales, stuntwoman Jane Austin (candidate for National Secretary-Treasury), actress Frances Fisher (a local board candidate), and actor David Jolliffe (candidate for LA Vice President) sat down for a roundtable discussion aired live by Twitch TV to discuss key election issues. Others spoke in support of the Membership First slate. 



    Steven Samblis is an American businessman, inventor, TV host, Interviewer, Movie Critic and Entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Envision TV, Inc. and Cinema Buzz, Inc.


    Esai Morales, is a man known in Hollywood as a peaceful warrior with an artist’s heart. In four decades working as an actor and producer he has built a legacy of goodwill and work ethic in an industry in which honor and respect have not always been a stable commodity.  And now, Esai is making a move that could help change the entertainment industry in a very good way.  Driven by his lifetime of experience in entertainment Esai is running for the presidency of SAG-AFTRA.

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    Tinsel Town’s Civil War

    The race for the SAG-AFTRA presidency is as divided as Hillary v. Trump

    by David Fagin  @nikchapman 08/01/2017 03:07 am

    The Hillary/Trump fiasco isn’t the only presidential race with all the makings of a reality show. The mud-slinging, press conference brouhaha’s, hotly contested issues, fiercely divided camps, etc., aren’t just reserved for Washington. There is another altogether insane presidential race, and the similarities to what’s currently happening in our nation’s capital are striking.

    The fight for the SAG-AFTRA presidency has become one of the more ugly Hollywood power struggles in recent memory. However, if, due to a few other minor distractions in the daily headlines, you haven’t been paying too much attention to this one, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Let me bring you up to speed.

    After the 2012 merger of the two largest entertainment unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, things began spiraling downward at a snowball’s pace. And it appears they’ve finally come to a head in this election, due primarily, to the essential divide over one, basic principle: To Strike or Not to Strike?