Jon Voight has explained to his fellow actors why he won’t be attending
next month’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards in a full-page
Voight was given the nod in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a
Television Movie or Miniseries category for his role in the TV movie The Five People
You Meet in Heaven–but was also informed he won’t be getting an invite to the
Feb. 5 ceremony in Los Angeles, because he had previously resigned
from the guild and is currently classified as a fee-paying non-member.
Resigning from the union is often referred to as seeking “financial core”
status, which gives union members an opportunity to resign from full membership
but continue to pay the portion of dues which go to contract-related jobs.
When members take such steps, they’re no longer eligible to participate in a
number of guild activities – including attending awards shows.
In a letter which appeared in trade publication Variety, Voight says he
initially considered financial core status to work on a pal’s
financially-strapped movie, and went ahead with his plans after SAG used “scare
tactics” to shut down his friend’s film.
He writes, “The SAG board chose to bring me once again what they think is
shame, and apparently to warn other actors off joining financial core, by
announcing to the press that I was not invited to the ceremony to which my
fellow actors nominated me for a union film. All this because of my willingness to uphold the right to our personal pursuit of freedom and liberty…
“My sorrow comes only for a union that can be a great force, that can
accomplish much good, and protect, promote, and nourish the actor in his
individual pursuits, but does not yet understand that there will be come that
will be happy to follow the union in all its rules and regulations, but there
many be some that will differ, and follow a destiny of their own choosing, and
that is their right, and that is our country’s Constitution. I congratulate all my fellow nominees, and wish everyone the best.”
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