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Masur, Citing "Factionalism,' Seeks 3rd Term

(BPI) LOS ANGELES-Launching his campaign for a third term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, Richard Masur lashed out at the "divisiveness and factionalism" that has split the guild's board in recent years.

Masur didn't name names, but it's clear that he is particularly irked by the behavior of some members of the Performers Alliance, a dissident faction that now holds a majority of the seats on SAG's Hollywood board.

"One reason for feeling that I need to run for the presidency one more time is the level of factionalism that has entered the SAG board room," Masur said in an interview Friday. "Two years ago, a group of highly motivated performers came together and ran for the board out of a sense of frustration with what they saw as the failings of the current leadership. This was not in-and-of itself a bad thing. Many of the best leaders this union has ever produced have come in angry and frustrated. However, the best of those leaders listened, learned, and matured as they spent more time being a part of the process, and realized how to become effective and productive members of this organization's political structure.

"In this case, however, that process seems not to be working. Though some have learned and changed and become effective, many others who have come in on a platform of negativism seem to be clinging to that negativity as a way of maintaining their power base among the members.

"There is nothing wrong with dissent and disagreement in a deliberative body like the SAG board of directors," Masur continued. "There is everything wrong with personal attacks, staff bashing, and obstructionism. In the last year, the guild's board in Los Angeles has spent an enormous amount of time on personal issues and procedural questions which do not put a single dollar into any member's pocket. Rather than keeping our focus on the vital questions of runaway production, diversity, contract enforcement, and commercial monitoring...we are constantly being forced to put our attention on issues which I believe the members have no interest in and do not benefit them in their professional lives."

Masur said he feels "very strongly that this mood of divisiveness and factionalism must stop...and I will continue to do everything I can to make sure that those who are creating this mood are either educated, and adjust their behavior, or are no longer on the board."

Masur, who has received the nomination of SAG's official nominating committee, said his decision to run again "was a very difficult decision. At the end of this term, I will have spent 10 years as a board member, vice president and president."

David Robb writes for The Hollywood Reporter.

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