Lee Daniels Sued By SAG-AFTRA Over Unpaid Residuals
It’s starting to feel like Lee Daniels has more lawsuits against him than celebrity guest appearances on “Empire.”
A month after the SAG foundation honored the director with the Patron of the Artists Award, SAG-AFTRA filed a lawsuit against him in federal court over an old battle over residuals. The union wants a judge to enforce a 2011 arbitration ruling over almost $340,000 in unpaid contributions and residuals from Lee’s directorial feature debut Shadowboxer.
A source close to Daniels says “it is weird” that SAG-AFTRA cannot get ahold of the director to work out the issue over the 2005 film. That’s made espeically weird when the nonprofit SAG Foundation can have him in person as one of the marquee names at its 30th anniversary event at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on November 5.
Or what’s really weird is that he knows he owes this money and hasn’t paid it -…
What makes this whole thing even odder is that only now is SAG-AFTRA taking this thing to court, and the union doesn’t seem to have a phone number that’s pretty easily available to everyone in town. SAG-AFTRA had no response when contacted about the situation and the lawsuit.
However, the filing in California on Tuesday says the union attempted as recently as late last month to contact Daniels over this but got an “out of service” response. But they didn’t have the right phone number for him or his Lee Daniels Entertainment.
According to SAG-AFTRA, a 2011 confidential arbitration arising out of the initial 2009 snafu found that Shadowboxer LLC and Daniels’ company owed just over $25,300 in pension and health contributions for the pic starring Cuba Gooding Jr, Joe Gordon-Levitt and Helen Mirren about an assassin with terminal cancer. Plus there is another $169,630 in residuals and about $93,500 in late payment damages as well as other fees for the film, which was made under the independent producers’ collective-bargaining deal.
Sooo, SAG could contact Lee Daniels to tell him they were going to honor him, but they didn’t have it to contact him regarding his debt? Oh, okay.
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