Twelve writers for the E! reality series Fashion Police filed complaints with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement earlier this month, saying that they were seeking payment for unpaid regular and overtime hours that totaled $1.5 million.
Wednesday, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) informed its members that the staff was officially on strike against E! and Joan Rivers’ Rugby Productions. The two companies jointly employ the writers who work on Fashion Police. The writers are seeking $1.1 million in back wages and $400,000 in damages.
In response to the complaints, the network said in a statement, “E! values our Fashion Police writers and we pay them fairly and in full legal compliance.”
Rivers’ manager Larry A. Thompson told Deadline he was unaware of a lawsuit filed against the comedienne, saying, “We have not seen any claim filed by anyone anywhere and therefore cannot comment at this time.” Rivers herself has yet to comment.
“This is very simple. We have earned the right to be a Guild show, we deserve to be a Guild show, and we want to be a Guild show,” writer Ned Rice said in a statement Wednesday. “The ball is clearly in E! and Rugby’s court right now and we’re ready to go back to work on Fashion Police just as soon as they sign a WGA contract.”
“Fashion Police is one of the network’s top-rated shows. Its writers are an integral part of that success,” WGA West and WGA East presidents Chris Keyser and Michael Winship said in a joint statement. “To deny them the basic guarantees that are the right of all writers is not only unjust, it is also a counterproductive business practice. All WGA members are now prohibited from working on Fashion Police. This order will remain in effect until E! and Rugby do what is right.”
Do you think the Fashion Police writers will win their lawsuit? What do you think this means for the future of the reality series?