Hollywood's main actors union is accusing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of exerting "extraordinary and unwarranted pressure" to keep big celebrities from presenting at shows other than the Oscars.
The accusation from the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists comes in the thick of awards season, when groups are trying to book big names to appear on stage.
"SAG-AFTRA has fielded numerous requests to respond to assertions that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exerts extraordinary and unwarranted pressure on talent to hold them from appearing at other award presentations,” the labor union said in a statement on Monday.
The SAG Awards, which first started in 1995, are on Jan. 27. The 91st Academy Awards are Feb. 24.
The union said it has received “multiple reports” of the Academy using “graceless pressure tactics” as a way to control the awards show talent pipeline.
“This self-serving intimidation of SAG-AFTRA members is meant to limit their opportunities to be seen and honor the work of their fellow artists throughout the season," the union added. "Actors should be free to accept any offer to participate in industry celebrations."
The Academy didn’t immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
The SAG-AFTRA accusations come after Kevin Hart stepped down as host of the 2019 Oscars, which may now have to rely on presenters to keep the show moving if no replacement is found.
Hart's decision to step down came amid controversy around his past anti-gay tweets. After initially refusing to apologize, he has since addressed the issue in multiple interviews, including on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.