SAG-AFTRA working to cover reality stars in its contract

SAG-AFTRA working to cover reality stars in its contract

By Lisa Respers France | CNN

SAG-AFTRA is looking to extend its contract protections to those who appear on reality shows, according to a statement provided to CNN from the union.

The group, which represents performers in Hollywood, said it “has engaged in discussions with” a law firm that has been retained by “Real Housewives” star Bethenny Frankel “around the subject of treatment of reality performers.”

“SAG-AFTRA is the Union that represents reality performers,” the statement continued. “Depending on the structure of the production and the performers involved, we can cover these performers under our Network Code Agreement.”

SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 performers who are currently on strike as they seek a deal that would give them better pay with regard to residuals, better working conditions and protection from encroaching artificial intelligence.

Writers in Hollywood are also currently striking.

Frankel, who has carved out a career as a media personality and entrepreneur since appearing on “The Real Housewives of New York” and “The Apprentice,” has been advocating for reality stars to receive full union protections.

“Reality TV has existed for decades & sustained entertainment during the last strike & exploded,” she wrote in the caption of a video posted on her social media last month. In it, she outlined what she would like to see happen in the reality TV realm. “This isn’t for people like me, who have thrived & succeeded and clawed their way to the top despite the odds. This is for the next generation.”

SAG-AFTRA said in their statement, “We stand ready to assist Bethenny Frankel… along with reality performers and our members in the fight and 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.”

“We encourage any reality performers and/or members to reach out to SAG-AFTRA’s Entertainment Contracts Department so that we may work together toward the protection of the reality performers ending the exploitative practices that have developed in this area and to engage in a new path to Union coverage,” they concluded the statement.

On Thursday, Frankel shared a story to her Instagram about SAG-AFTRA’s latest statement, writing in the caption, “Use your voice. The reality reckoning has begun…”

CNN has reached out to her for additional comment.