The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has canceled an 8 AM demonstration planned for Tues., Sept. 19, at the TKTS booth in Times Square. The demonstration was meant to disrupt a Jaguar commercial being filmed in Times Square.
A SAG source said that the reason for the cancellation was that the commercial shoot featuring Jaguar's British racing team was determined to be an "industrial" commercial, and was therefore exempt from strike work.
SAG and its sister union, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have been striking against the producers of commercials since May 1. A SAG representative at the TKTS booth told Playbill On-Line that five minutes after actor Tim Robbins called for the Jaguar demonstration the union learned that the car commercial was actually an industrial.
Actors started arriving at the TKTS booth before 8 AM to participate in the Sept. 19 demonstration. Fellow actors and SAG staffers greeted them and explained the cancellation.
On Sept. 19, a block north of TKTS and around the corner at W. 48 and Broadway, the Jaguar team sipped coffee and dusted its green Formula 1 car in preparation for the shoot. Asked whether their group expected any union protest a member of the British crew told Playbill On-Line, "Oh, we got rid of them last night." Asked how, the crew member said, "Just a few phone calls, and that was that."
At press time, both the SAG headquarters and its strike headquarters offices were closed—late calls to determine the exact nature of the "industrial" were not returned.
As reported earlier, the first Formula 1 race to take place in this country in two decades is scheduled for Indianapolis this weekend. It is not known whether the industrial being filmed in Times Square on Sept. 19 is connected with this commercial racing event, and whether or not such a connection is recognized by SAG.
The filming permits filed with the Mayor's office categorized the Jaguar shoot as a commercial when it was, in fact, an industrial a SAG source explained.
SAG said it plans a separate 2 PM rally in front of the Crowne Plaza Hotel at W. 48 and Broadway on Sept. 19. There, negotiations continue in the contract talks between SAG/AFTRA and commercial producers represented by the Joint Policy Committee (JPC).
-- By Murdoch McBride