In an unusually strong action by the Screen Actors Guild, the union has declared television producer Saban Entertainment "unfair to performers," and charged the company with the "economic exploitation of children." In a letter sent to SAG members this week, the guild ordered its members not to work for any of the company's shows until it signs an overall agreement with the union.
Saban, which last year entered a joint venture with Fox Kids television and its parent, News Corp., produces such children's television shows as "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," "The All New Captain Kangaroo" and the animated "X-Men."
Saban responded with a statement calling SAG's charges "categorically untrue." Saban President Mel Woods said the company has to make shows nonunion because of "the economics of the kids' TV business."
Saban is not unique in producing nonunion shows. Numerous other television and movie producers do the same, looking to save money and avoid SAG restrictions. SAG has an ongoing, general ban on members working for nonunion productions, though the guild does allow those who plead hardship to become affiliate members. This allows actors to receive limited benefits while working on nonunion shows.