Tonight is the 3rd annual “Evening Before Emmys” fundraiser for the Motion Picture & Television Fund. But outside the event in Century City, the grassroots organization “Saving The Lives Of Our Own” held a candlelight vigil to protest the “Evening Before Eviction” — its moniker for the MPTF closures of the acute- and long-term care facilities. Tonight’s protest was expected to include members of SAG, Teamsters Local 399 (one of the leaders, Steve Dayan, is being interviewed photo), AFTRA, the WGA, DGA, IATSE and others. “Saving The Lives Of Our Own” is a grass-roots coalition of entertainment industry workers, long-term care residents, their families, and community members. In weeks leading up to the event, the protest group wrote to the partygoers and said:
We respectfully ask that you please reconsider your decision to participate in the MPTF’s September 19 ‘Evening Before Emmy’ event.
Unfortunately, the money raised at this event will NOT go towards saving this historic and vital long-term care facility, which these residents depend on now and future generations of Hollywood’s rank-and-file workers will depend on in the future. Though fundraising offers have been made, the Fund’s administrators have responded by saying that no amount of money would change their closure decision.
The MPTF’s sacred promise, ‘We Take Care of Our Own,’ its noble mission since its founding by Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford in 1928, has been broken.
The appeal was directed to “Evening Before Emmy” Host Committee Members Christina Applegate, Simon Baker, Drew Barrymore, Kate Capshaw & Steven Spielberg, Courtney Cox & David Arquette, Ellen DeGeneres & Portia De Rossi, Jillian & Patrick Dempsey, America Ferrera, Tina Fey, Sally Field, Mariska Hargitay & Peter Hermann, Neil Patrick Harris, Holly Hunter, John Krasinski, Hugh Laurie, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Conan O’Brien, Amy Poehler & Will Arnett, Ellen Pompeo & Christopher Ivery, Ryan Seacrest, Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jon Stewart, Kiefer Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Westfeldt & Jon Hamm, Rita Wilson & Tom Hanks.
Tonight’s protest sparked this statement from MPTF Foundation CEO Ken Scherer:
“We are very gratified by tonight’s strong showing of support for MPTF from our sponsors, the television studios, networks, talent agencies and individual participants in The Evening Before. It is a demonstration of their awareness of the Fund’s importance in the lives of so many people in the Hollywood community.
“It is regrettable that some people have chosen to use tonight’s benefit as an opportunity to protest the closing of the MPTF hospital and long-term care unit. The funds we are raising will be used not only to continue providing care to the members of their families whom we serve, but also to their colleagues and friends. In some cases, the protestors themselves are the beneficiaries of the many programs and services provided by this charity.
“MPTF’s Board of Directors has also approved the allocation of millions of dollars to facilitate safe and responsible transitions for the residents of our Long Term Care Unit as they transfer to new facilities.
“Tonight is a celebration of artistic achievement on the eve of the Emmy’s. It provides a wonderful opportunity for the television community to come together in that spirit and to give back in a positive way to those who are served by MPTF.”
Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.