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SAG-AFTRA speaks on Trump's union resignation: 'Members were just fine with his decision'

Alexandra Canal
·Producer
·3 min read

Former President Donald Trump announced his resignation from The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday, following a disciplinary probe over his role in January’s deadly attack on the Capitol.

“I write to you today regarding the so-called Disciplinary Committee hearing aimed at revoking my union membership. Who cares!” Trump wrote in a fiery resignation letter to SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris.

His resignation means he can no longer enjoy SAG-AFTRA benefits, which include voting on employment and government structure of the union — in addition to other unique privileges such as movie screeners during award season and more.

“While I'm not familiar with your work, I'm very proud of my work on movies such as 'Home Alone 2,' 'Zoolander' and 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'; and television shows including 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,' 'Saturday Night Live,' and of course, one of the most successful shows in television history, 'The Apprentice' — to name just a few!” the letter continued.

In response, SAG-AGTRA had just two words for the former commander-in-chief: “Thank you.” National Executive Director David White told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview that the terse response “is all we really had to say.”

Former President Donald Trump announced his resignation from The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday following a disciplinary probe over his role in the deadly Capitol riot attacks on January 6th.Former President Donald Trump announced his resignation from The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday following a disciplinary probe over his role in the deadly Capitol riot attacks on January 6th
Former President Donald Trump announced his resignation from The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday following a disciplinary probe over his role in the deadly Capitol riot attacks on January 6th

“We actually expected him to show up [to the disciplinary hearing] but I think the members were just fine with his decision to no longer be a part of this family,” White said.

Tinseltown’s move to penalize the former president comes as the Senate is poised to deliberate on Trump’s impeachment beginning next week.

White added that SAG faced pressure to revoke Trump’s membership even prior to January 6th’s attacks — with current union members arguing that his actions did not reflect “the integrity and values of the membership. It had nothing to do with his politics,” White explained.

Hollywood is notoriously left-leaning, but White stressed that the union is a non-partisan organization that was once under the leadership of former Republican President Ronald Reagan. The 40th U.S. Commander in Chief served as SAG-president from 1947-1952, and then again from 1959-1960.

“We had a number of members call with lots of concern about Mr. Trump’s actions as a candidate when he was calling the media ‘fake news,’ calling upon people to take action against journalists,” White explained.

“And we know for a fact that, prior to his election as a president, then as president and even after being president, that his words incited actual violence and harm against members of this union, along with many others,” he continued.

Legally, Trump can still appear in movies and TV shows despite the resignation, yet White suggested that union representation in Hollywood is often paramount.

“This industry is one that respects labor relations and respects the collective activities of unions quite a bit, so most producers do look to see whether or not the person is a member of the union in their hiring decisions,” White explained.

Alexandra Canal is a producer & entertainment correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193.

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