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'Fashion Police' writers go on strike

April 17, 2013|By Richard Verrier
  • This Feb. 21, 2013 photo shows comedian Joan Rivers, left, and her daughter Melissa Rivers in New York.
This Feb. 21, 2013 photo shows comedian Joan Rivers, left, and her daughter… (Dan Hallman / Invision /…)

Writers for "Fashion Police" have walked off the job.

Writers on the E! Network cable show hosted by comedian Joan Rivers have gone on strike following a dispute over back wages.

The Writers Guild of America, West did not immediately announce the action, but at least one writer on the show posted a blog on the action.

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"I just went on strike from my job writing for a highly rated cable TV show,'' Eliza Skinner, a writer on "Fashion Police," posted on Tumblr. "That might mean the brilliant comedians I know here online or in real life will be asked to come in and replace the striking workers."

Skinner continued: "There are tons of people that are so funny, and I’d LOVE to have you write on our show -- I’ve even recommended some of you for the job in the past. And who knows -- they might ask you to do it. But while we strike you really shouldn’t work my job. Really really really."

In a complaint filed with the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, the guild alleged earlier this month that Joan Rivers' production company, Rugby Productions, has violated California labor law by refusing to $400,000 in back wages pay wages to writers on "Fashion Police."

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The complaint followed a similar complaint writers on the show filed last week against E!, contending the cable network owed them $1.1 million in back wages.

The writers contend that "Fashion Police" violated California laws that require an employer to pay hourly employees their regular wage rate for all time worked in an eight-hour period, the guild said.

Representatives of E! and Joan Rivers could not be reached for comment.

Update: The guild confirmed the strike in a statement: “Fashion Police is one of the network's top-rated shows. Its writers are an integral part of that success,” said WGAW President Chris Keyser and WGAE President Michael Winship 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.”

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