A peaceful but loud protest was held on Thursday outside the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Los Angeles headquarters against the covid vaccine mandate. Nearly 100 members showed up to the protest, according to Deadline.
Cha Cha Sandoval-McMahon, a stuntwoman and actress who organised the protest, described it as “a pretty good turnout” for just two days of networking.
A man with a bullhorn shouted, “Coercion is not consent,” and accepting the mandate “is the beginning of socialism.” Many carried signs that read “My body, my choice,” “End the mandates now,” and “Medical freedom.
One member posted a protest video, saying he was “trying to fight for our rights against the corrupt SAG-AFTRA”. See the video below.
The film and television industry’s covid safety protocols, including a narrowly defined vaccination requirement, expire on Saturday. However, they may be extended, as they have been numerous times since the protocols were first issued in September 2020. This allowed jobs and productions to resume during the worst days of the pandemic.
Last July, as vaccines became widely available, producers were given the option to implement mandatory vaccination policies on a project-by-project basis in Zone A, where unmasked actors work. Zone A is the most restrictive zone of the safe work zones.
The protocols specify that where permitted by law, producers may implement a policy providing that those working in Zone A, as well as studio teachers, “must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as a condition of employment and before entering the workplace, subject to reasonable accommodations as required by law for individuals who cannot be vaccinated due to disability or a sincerely held religious belief, practice, or observance.”
Miami-based actor, Carlos Guerrero, asked the union leaders: “Why the hell are you not allowing unvaccinated people to work while vaccinated people are catching the virus on your sets?”
The mandates, however, cannot be lifted by SAG-AFTRA as several companies and industry unions agreed to them.