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Why there will be protests at Ink Master’s live finale

Why there will be protests at Ink Master’s live finale

There are protests planned for the Oct. 13 live Ink Master season six finale in New York City as part of the ongoing quest to unionize reality show television workers.

The Writers Guild of America, East, has taken its complaints with Ink Master producer Original Media to the show’s network.  Today, the union announced that “vocal support for writer-producers at Original Media will be on display during a planned protest at the live finale of Ink Master,” and sent a petition [PDF] to Spike president Kevin Kay. It says, in part,

“…we believe it is Spike’s responsibility to ensure Original doesn’t violate the rights of “Ink Master” writers and producers.

More than a year ago, the writers and producers at Original Media voted to unionize to get collectively bargained health insurance, among other things. Instead of honoring this decision, Original crammed a substandard health care plan down employees’ throats, which led the NLRB General Counsel to issue a complaint alleging that Original violated federal labor law.

At the same time, dozens of Original Media employees have filed statements with state authorities detailing massive wage theft—potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid overtime. And Original is a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by an ‘Ink Master’ employee.”

The last sentence references the fact that the network and production company are being sued by a former PA.

It’s not the first time the WGA has waged its campaign—and targeted Original Media—directly to a network. In August, union representatives took a fruit basket “survival kit” to the New York City home of Discovery CEO David Zaslav “to mark the enormous contrast between his generous $156 million pay package and the extremely difficult conditions endured by the men and women who make shows for his television networks at production companies like Original Media,” as the WGA said in a press release.

I’ve asked Spike and Original Media for comments and will update if they offer any. Meanwhile, the live finale is looking for seat fillers if you’d like to see the protest and/or finale up close.

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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