Actors receive Powell with skepticism, scorn

David Anderson

In addition to supporters, General Colin Powell’s appearance at the University’s Gateway alumni center Tuesday attracted a number of skeptics.
The protesters expressed their disappointment with Powell and America’s Promise’s decision to produce a public service announcement despite union actors’ ongoing strike.
Powell is the spokesman for America’s Promise, an organization to strengthen the country’s youth.
“Colin Powell is saying ‘Forget what your family needs; I need to look good and get my donations,'” said Nate Fleming, 26, a Minneapolis actor. “It was like he didn’t ever care. That’s like a big part of the work ethic thing, showing that you stick up for what you believe.”
Most protesters were members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, nationwide sister unions with 1,200 members locally.
Mark Bradley, president of the Twin Cities chapter of AFTRA, said America’s Promise originally hired union actors to produce the announcement. After SAG and AFTRA went on strike against the advertising industry, America’s Promise hired nonunion actors as replacements, he said.
“(Powell) went ahead and crossed the picket line,” Bradley said. “I think it was very bad judgment on his part.”
Bradley said after the strike broke out, the unions proposed an interim agreement that would have allowed America’s Promise to shoot the announcement with union actors, but the organization refused and 250 performers lost their jobs.
Matt Lauew, a spokesman for America’s Promise, said many workers on the set were union workers despite the strike.
Bradley said Powell lacks integrity because his message of inspiration contradicts his attitude toward labor rights.
“He’s been a man who has been such a role model for so many people,” he said. “We are wondering what kind of a message this does send to the young people of America.”

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