SAGAFTRA Rallies Behind Bethenny Frankel’s Words to Unionize Reality Stars

Aug
11,
2023

Remember when Survivor was the first reality show? Those days are long gone and with reality tv a firm fixture its surprising its stars don’t have a union to protect them.

Image: Getty

Enter SAGAFTRA – stage left. As the largest entertainment union its a bit surprising it took the SAGAFTRA strike and Bethenny Frankel’s public comments to galvanize SAGAFTRA into movement. After merging with AFTRA in May of 2012 its union membership expanded to include on air personalities, tv anchors and more. Reality stars coming into the fold only makes sense.

Not covering reality stars ends now. SAGAFTRA is now working “toward the protection of the reality performers” in an effort to end “the exploitative practices that have developed in this area” and “to engage in a new path to union coverage.”

“We are tired of studios and production companies trying to circumvent the union in order to exploit the talent that they rely upon to make their product,” the guild said.

The response from SAGAFTRA comes after, Bethenny Frankel, a former star of The Real Housewives of New York City, suggested that reality performers should go on strike in order to win residuals for their work and to combat abuses in the workplace. Reality show hosts, but not contestants, are covered by the guild’s Network Code, which is not part of its strike against films and scripted TV shows.

“Why isn’t reality TV on strike?” Frankel said in a recent TikTok video. “I got paid $7,250 for my first season of reality TV, and people are still watching those episodes.” Reality stars, she said, “are the stepchildren, the losers, the mules, the pack horses. The ones that the entertainment industry is going to rely on, right now, to carry the water and do the heavy lifting when real stars, real A-list Hollywood is on strike.”

What do you think? Should reality tv stars be entitled to residuals? We believe they should. It’s their faces and personalities that make or a break a show much like your favorite tv stars.