SAG-AFTRA Board Paves Way for Expelling Donald Trump from Union

The labor union represents film, television, and media personalities

Donald Trump on The Apprentice

While Donald Trump is no doubt preoccupied with Mitch McConnell’s latest comments about impeachment, there are movements afoot that would make an Apprentice reboot or his long-rumored digital media venture tougher to realize. As Deadline reports, SAG-AFTRA, the labor union representing film, television, and media personalities, has taken the first step in expelling Trump.

On Tuesday, January 19th, SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors found “probable cause” that Trump “violated the union’s Constitution.” His offense is perhaps more serious than most of those heard by the Disciplinary Committee; the charges cite Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric ahead of the January 6th storming of the Capitol, as well as “sustaining a reckless campaign of misinformation aimed at discrediting and ultimately threatening the safety of journalists, many of whom are SAG-AFTRA members.”

The Disciplinary Committee will hold a trial that is expected to take three to six weeks, although it may be longer if Trump requests an extension. If found guilty, the possible penalties range from a mere reprimand to censure, suspension, and expulsion. Given the severity of the charges, it would be pretty surprising for the union to go through all this trouble just to leave him with a slap on the wrist.

SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris is of the same mind. “Donald Trump attacked the values that this union holds most sacred – democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press,” Carteris said. “There’s a straight line from his wanton disregard for the truth to the attacks on journalists perpetrated by his followers.”

David White, the union’s national executive director, added that, “Our most important role as a union is the protection of our members. The unfortunate truth is, this individual’s words and actions over the past four years have presented actual harm to our broadcast journalist members. The board’s resolution addresses this effort to undermine freedom of the press and reaffirms the principles on which our democratic society rests, and which we must all work to protect and preserve.”

Trump has been a member of SAG and AFTRA since 1989, long before the separate union’s merger in 2012. In addition to his 14 seasons on The Apprentice, Trump has made numerous appearances in Playboy videos, wrestling shows, and films including Zoolander, The Littler Rascals, and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. But this latter accomplishment may not stand for long; star Macaulay Culkin supports removing Trump from the film.

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In the aftermath of one of the ugliest episodes in recent American history, Trump’s platform continues shrinking. He’s been permanently banned by Facebook and Twitter, and he’s not the only one facing consequences. Ariel Pink and John Maus participated in the protest, and Pink has now been dropped by his record label. Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer actually stormed the Capitol building, and has since been arrested by the FBI.


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