My Letter to SAG-AFTRA Concerning
Return to Work Protocols

I sent the letter below to SAG-AFTRA about Return to Work Protocols on September 13, 2021. I want to share it in hopes of letting others who are concerned with what is happening know that they are not alone. I know that I am not the only one in my industry who feels this way. It took me over a month to find my courage and to speak up within my industry. I hope that others may find the courage to do the same.

To all at SAG-AFTRA who are responsible for Return to Work Protocols,

 

I am so incredibly saddened and angry about SAG's decision to support vaccine mandates. I attended the Return to Work Livestream back on August 4th and remain truly shocked by what I heard. This has been a very difficult decision, but I have finally decided that I need to speak up.

 

I want to start by noting that the jokes about "Armchair Epidemiologists" between Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and Rebecca Damon were insulting and not appreciated. I happen to be scientifically-minded. I have spent countless hours reading and listening to highly qualified doctors and scientists from around the world and doing research of my own using actual data which goes beyond simply reading a fact checking website, blindly trusting a meme, or believing without question a list of talking points or catchphrases such as "Pandemic of the Unvaccinated". I certainly don't expect all SAG members to take the time to do this. But I have a family that is well-versed in this and I am as well. Not all artists are ignorant or uninterested when it comes to understanding science. If you are trying to be inclusive of all members, your new protocols combined with "Armchair Epidemiologist" jokes are not going to achieve this.

 

I want to offer some key points here that absolutely should have been considered in your decision:

 

- These vaccines do not prevent infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

- In some individuals the vaccines can lessen COVID-19 symptoms. So a fully vaccinated person could still spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus around without realizing that he or she is doing so. All of this talk of preventing COVID-19 through vaccination is specifically referring to Symptomatic COVID-19. This means less severe cases and symptoms. But it does not mean that the virus is not still getting transmitted by those vaccinated individuals.

- As of May 1, the CDC is not tracking COVID-19 cases in the fully vaccinated (aka breakthrough cases) unless the individual is hospitalized or has died. There is an astounding number of breakthrough cases in the fully vaccinated, but these cases are not being included. If we're concerned about spread of the virus, then this practice makes absolutely no sense. Examples proving these breakthrough cases can be seen within individual states, as well as in countries with high vaccination rates. In multiple examples, the number of vaccinated who are infected vastly outweighs the number of unvaccinated who are infected. Some vaccinated may have milder symptoms, but this does not change the fact that they can still spread it to others and should be included in our case numbers. This completely unravels the argument being pushed that it is the unvaccinated who are putting others at risk.

 

Now I want to touch on why so many people do not want to put their health or livelihood at risk by taking this vaccine:

 

- The coronavirus spike protein, regardless of the virus it is attached to, causes disease in the body. By design, the current vaccines generate spike proteins in the body. We were originally told that the vaccine contents stay at the injection site and do not spread around the body, but this is false. Spike proteins are being found concentrated in multiple internal organs, and circulating through the bloodstreams of vaccinated individuals.

- The VAERS database in the US, and other databases around the world, while only capturing a very small percentage, show hundreds of thousands of adverse events occurring after administration of these vaccines. As of the writing of this email, we are up to 14,506 reported deaths in the VAERS database alone. And yet we are being told that not a single one of these deaths is related to the vaccines. It is literally impossible for the FDA or CDC to have thoroughly investigated each and every death in such a short amount of time; they simply cannot make this statement. The reported deaths are part of the 675,591 reports of hospitalizations, injuries, and adverse events including heart attacks, myocarditis, miscarriages, and neurological damage. Our government health agencies, who spoke in the fall of 2020 of having a robust safety monitoring system, do not have a system like this in place. There is no Data Safety Monitoring Board to watch for safety signals. The VAERS reports on their own do not prove causation. But if you truly believe that all of these reports are simply a coincidence, I highly encourage you to look at the numbers yourself. While you're there, please take the time to read some of the reports: https://www.openvaers.com/covid-data. These events are supposed to be investigated by our health agencies. The system is in place to signal patterns. But despite the patterns that are clearly showing up in the data, this information is largely being ignored. Does SAG-AFTRA plan to take responsibility for members who suffer injuries, or worse, from these vaccines?

- There is a reason which goes beyond a specific religion or medical condition that must be considered and honored here. It is called bodily autonomy. If you are not honoring and respecting each individual's right to bodily autonomy, you are crossing a line that you do not have the right to cross. This is especially true when you're asking an individual to take a significant risk for a product that will still be in clinical trials until 2023 despite the fast-tracked FDA approval, and especially when that individual, like me, already has loved ones who are now dealing with neurological damage and other adverse events following vaccination.

 

This has nothing to do with being "anti-science". This has nothing to do with politics. (Although, as someone who has leaned left my entire life, I have to ask, what ever happened to "My Body, My Choice"?) 

 

As far as on-set protocols go, I am very concerned about the lax protocols you have established for the fully vaccinated when the vaccines do not prevent infection or transmission. I have no doubt you are witnessing a significant number of individuals testing positive despite being fully vaccinated. And the different protocols required for unvaccinated individuals with an exemption are horrible and inhumane. How in the world is creating a two-tiered system going to foster creativity and community on set? How does this align with SAG's desire for equity and inclusion? I was on set last year and followed all protocols. As physically distanced as we all were from each other, it still felt like a creative community and a family. With your new segregation practice you have thrown this out the window.

 

As much as was discussed in the livestream about honoring privacy and preventing discrimination in hiring, surely you understand this business and know that, if someone is unvaccinated, regardless of exemption status, word can get around the industry. You cannot in good faith guarantee that this will not affect a worker's future chances of employment for certain projects, or likelihood of being called in for an audition.

 

As a side note, it was mentioned in the livestream as a way of justifying these mandates and protocols that 80% of respondents to SAG's survey were either vaccinated or planning to become vaccinated. What about the other 20%? Are you representing them? Please look at the number of unvaccinated across this country and in other countries as well. There are a lot more than 20% who don't want this. What about those of us who chose not to answer the survey? I read through that survey and I personally was very uncomfortable with it. Despite the claim that it would be anonymous, I was required to provide my member number and date of birth, and there were questions in that survey that had nothing to do with vaccination or health that I simply was not comfortable answering. I know that I'm not the only member who felt this way and did not participate in the survey. I also want to note that the survey didn't specifically ask if members actually wanted vaccine mandates or different protocols for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Out of forty questions, it simply asked in the last two questions if the respondent had been, or planned to be, vaccinated. How can you base these discriminatory practices on that information alone? I personally know many people who are fully vaccinated but do not support mandating it.

 

You said that the Delta variant played a large role in your development of these new protocols. Did you miss the information where the current vaccines are not protecting people from the Delta variant, or the acknowledgment from Pfizer that their vaccine is only effective for 6 months? Your new relaxed protocols for vaccinated individuals are not considering these details and I cannot wrap my head around your reasoning for doing this.

 

Additionally, if you are so concerned about all of the details, then why is there no industry standard for PCR cycle threshold? Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that it was up to each individual lab to determine this. I also must ask if you are aware of the discrepancies with the PCR test? The higher the cycle threshold, the higher the rate of false positives. I was shocked to discover that SAG has no requirement for a consistent PCR cycle threshold across all productions. I heard over and over in the livestream about basing your decisions on science. This should apply to all aspects of the situation.

 

As a professional actor I have played many roles in my life. But two roles that I refuse to play are that of Guinea Pig, or of Statistic. I am asking you to rethink these practices as they are wrong on every level. And I ask that you consider that, for each person like me who has finally found the courage to speak up, there are many, many more who are simply afraid to. I certainly qualify for an exemption. But I honestly don't know if I can bring myself to participate in an industry that condones this. And I would also feel incredibly uneasy and unsafe being singled out and treated like a biohazard on set while simply trying to work.

 

In addition to asking you to rethink this dangerous, unscientific and discriminatory practice, I am also requesting a waiver for my dues for as long as this practice is being implemented. I will not pay dues to a union that is not representing me or others like me, has created a hostile work environment for a significant percentage of its members, and does not respect individual body sovereignty.

 

Sincerely,

Laura Norman

It is my intention to leave this page up until those in my industry stop this discriminatory and unscientific practice. Or, should they do the right thing and stop it sooner rather than later, I may choose to leave this on my site for longer if discriminatory and unscientific practices like this one continue in other industries or nations, in order to add my voice to the conversation.