This was not the blog I’d intended to write yesterday (and yes, I was working on this all week).
See, I went on vacation to San Diego County last week, and had intended to write my blog on my Palm Pilot (T|W, which I no longer use as a phone, but instead hook up to the net via my cell phone and IR, it’s cool). The catch was that I forgot to bring my charger, so the battery was too low to post anything by Sunday. And Mom? Has dialup. Say it with me people, eewwww. So I made notes of what to write about, and I’ll post about the trip later.
Wednesday I got a phone call from a friend who told me that Jorja Fox had been fired from CSI. This is a ‘big deal’ to me because I run Jorja Fox: Online, the totally unofficial fansite for Jorja Fox. I did nothing about it. Firstly, I didn’t check my messages until Monday morning, secondly, even if I’d known the details as I do now, I wouldn’t have posted anything. Why? There was a chance it could all be worked out by Sunday. Come yesterday morning, though, I was pretty damn sure Jorja was gone from CSI for good.
See, I knew we should have gone to see her play in LA while we were on that coast.
So what happened? People get fired from shows all the time, but I’d already read casting sides and script bits from CSI, and I knew that Jorja was still signed on for two years. She’s a good actor (obviously I think so), and by all reports a decent person. There was a nice plot for her to play with this year, and I was looking forward to jibes about how CSI does her hair.
The facts as I know them:
1. Jorja Fox and George Eads asked for a raise
2. Gary Dourdan and Paul Guilfoyle were given ‘modest’ raises and a bump in screen time
3. Jorja and George have the same agent (Danica Smith)
4. Jorja and George were sent ‘letters’ that they were asked to sign
5. These letters made them promise to still come to work while the contract negations were ongoing
6. The letters were due to be postmarked by 5pm Wednesday (possibly faxed)
7. Jorja claims she mailed the letter by the deadline
8. CBS claims they didn’t receive Jorja’s letter
9. Jorja was fired on Wednesday
10. Jorja showed up to work Thursday (disputing reports on this one)
11. George was late to work on Thursday
12. Variety and the AP reported that Jorja and George were fired on Thursday
13. Danica Smith confirmed on Thursday that Jorja had been fired
14. Danica Smith confirmed on Friday that George had been fired
My ‘what the fuck?’ radar went off like a bandit.
Now, some people have said (rightly so) that if Jorja had worked for a regular company like I do, and she’d said “I want a raise or I won’t come into work,” she’d have been fired. This is correct much of the time. But actors are like baseball players. The rules of the games are different, as are the rules of the company. This is true between any two companies. For example, I can’t wear shorts to work. Other people can. These are the rules you agree to when you join a company. Without having a copy of Jorja’s contract, I can’t tell you what her ‘rules’ are exactly, but I’m fairly sure that ‘renegotiating’ for a raise was permitted. The point I’m trying to make is not that ‘Actors deserve special rules and the world should bend to their will.’ Jorja, from what we’ve been told, was playing the acting game the way everyone else does. Being fired for wanting a raise is also par for the actor course, and it was probably a suspected outcome.
Well, it was a very unlikely, barely sniffed at, outcome, in my eyes, since she’s a good actor, a nice person, and hasn’t been a Martha Stewart.
CBS says that Jorja ‘threatened’ to walk out. Okay, I can see them being pissed and jumping to hardball on this one. After all, last year saw the ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (except me) debacle, where Brad Garret (the older brother) staged a hold-out for more money. And HBO had the star of ‘The Sopranos’, James Gandolfini, do the same thing. I’d be pissed as hell, too. However, by mailing her letter in, Jorja showed intent to arrive at work. The fact remains, that Jorja appears to have been fired on Wednesday. If she was fired before the 5pm deadline, then someone’s lying.
Les Moonves, the head of CBS and now Viacom, is making a big to-do about how Jorja and George were fired for ‘breach of contract.’ As I understand it, he’s saying that since they threatened to walk out (this is only something he’s said, no one else has confirmed it) and Jorja didn’t return her letter (she denies this) and George was late to a casting call (this is confirmed), they broke their contract. Except that whole rigmarole about the letter doesn’t make sense. If, indeed, Jorja was fired for not returning the letter by 5pm Wednesday, then why was she fired on Wednesday? Also, that letter was likely not something that was included in her contract, so there’s no reason why her letter arrival/non-arrival should be a contract issue. Now, if Jorja didn’t show up on Thursday, that could be breach of contract.
One day late? Seems harsh and extreme, and I can only guess CBS is knee-jerking after the ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ fuck up last year, and they wanted to play hardball. I’m okay with that, actually. Thing is, George Eads I rather expected to leave; he’s gotten little screen time, and his plots are for crap. Same with Gary Dourdan, who’s actually made a little noise about leaving to go back to his music career. Then again, Gary also seems content with languishing on CSI and being a bit player. Jorja Fox makes no sense. She’s fairly popular, has a decent fan base, and while she has a lot of detractors, name me an actor who’s universally loved.
Except for Tom Sellek, and I’m not just saying that cause he lives near my mother.
I don’t get it, and I’m mad about this. I enjoy CSI. Less so these last two seasons, but well enough that I like watching it. I like Jorja Fox, and I’ve never heard a bad word about her from anyone. I’m not saying this as the geek who runs her fan site, I’m saying this as a confused CSI watcher.
Yo, CBS, what the fuck?
Anyway, I’m not writing a letter, nor am I joining any petition to get her back. It’s her and her agent and CBS now, and while I support Jorja, I hope she gets work again soon. I’m not sure if I’ll be upset that I don’t have to screen-cap CSI anymore. Thursday nights can be gaming night again!