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George Clooney Tries to Mediate Actor’s Spat
June 30, 2008

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

It’s George Clooney to the rescue.

Stars are at each other's throats over a Hollywood labor dispute.

Tom Hanks is aligning himself with one union while Jack Nicholson and Ben Stiller are backing another in a growing feud that threatens to shut down Tinseltown.

Hanks has signed an e-mail trying to convince members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) to accept a deal, which was negotiated by union leaders with the studio bosses.

Meanwhile, Nicholson and Stiller are appearing in ads that ask AFTRA actors to cast a “No” vote on the same deal. The two celebs are supporting AFTRA’s adversary, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). SAG leaders contend that the AFTRA deal is weak and damages SAG’s ability to obtain a better contract.

Enter stage left, Hollywood diplomat George Clooney. “What we can't do is pit artist against artist,” Clooney writes in an open letter.

He points out that “the one thing you can be sure of is that stories about Jack Nicholson versus Tom Hanks only strengthens the negotiating power of the AMPTP [the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the studios’ organization for bargaining with the unions].”

Clooney wisely advises, “Maybe we could find a way to get what both unions are looking for.”

A strike hurts everyone, especially small businesses and their employees, who are dependent on the show biz industry for their customers. Sadly, the recent writers’ strike cost the local economy an estimated 37,000 jobs and $2.1 billion.

Maybe Clooney can get George Michael and Dr. Phil to make up.

It seems that recently, in front of a star-studded audience, Dr. Phil McGraw was taken to task by Michael. While at a Los Angeles concert performance by Michael, Dr. Phil was chewed out over his non-sunny expression.

“I probably shouldn’t say this but it’s very me,” Michael announced from onstage. “Dr. Phil is here, and in the sea of faces he has this miserable look - he's been doing it for the last hour,” the singer added. “I probably shouldn't say this, but maybe you need to see someone about that.”

Some of the concert attendees started booing the daytime TV adviser.

Celebs in the audience who may or may not have booed included Bo Derek, Pink, Sharon Stone, Randy Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and Kathy Griffin.

Guess this means all Michael concertgoers have to don happy faces or risk being singled out as sour pusses.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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