Can Actors Do Everything? Mediate, Litigate?

George Clooney, Tom Hanks and other actors have offered to step in and “mediate” the writer’s strike. They say they will just tell the two sides “you have to live with this (particular terms) and get over it.” Some bloggers suggest only “starpower” will make the producers bargain in good faith.

I hope these well intended actors know what they are doing when they offer to mediate. It sounds like they don’t. Mediators don’t tell the parties what to do (”you need to live with that and get over it”). They facilitate negotiations between the parties so they can (together) come to an agreement and “live with it.” It is interesting that actors think they can “act” anything–including being professionals in a field that is complex and requires judgment and knowledge of how and when to “intervene.” George Clooney “acted” a great doc on ER but I wouldn’t want him doing my actual emergency treatment. And he was a law firm “fixer” in Michael Clayton but would you really want him to negotiate a legal settlement or litigate an unfair labor practice charge? Mediation can be just as hard as “human surgery” and more difficult than a trial. Not necessarily a good idea to have non-professionals (even those with clout) in this situation. As we say as professional mediators, first “do no harm.” (And that means entering into things/performances we know nothing about.)

Using arguments about “starpower” is not unlike “muscle mediation” (what we (the United States) do in North Korea and the mid-east –use our power to try to dictate terms (and peace). One can see how stable those “agreements” are. If they want to mediate, perhaps next we’ll have law professors (and mediators) acting!!

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6 Responses

  1. There’s a very funny sketch from years and years ago with Corbin Bernson on Saturday Night Live, acting like a lawyer in court because he played one on tv. His answer to everything is throwing buzzwords around – I think “deposition” was the favorite.

  2. jenl1625 says:

    How could you possibly mediate after having sided with the writers and refused to attend the Globe Awards?

  3. Andrew says:

    You know, George Clooney is not just an actor…Just because he can’t perform heart surgery doesn’t mean his talents are limited to acting. He gets himself involved in a lot of causes, and not superficially. See Wikipedia.

  4. Silvia F. Faerman says:

    I don’t think anyone should be offended when it is suggested that delicate, sensitive matters, that involve the well-being of many individuals and their families, and economic concerns of an important sector of the business world, should be handled by professionals with knowledge, experience and recognized authority in the mediation field.

    George Clooney, Tom Hanks, and the other actors deserve great respect for their good intentions but it is not clear that they are the best to deal with this important matter in a professional way.

    This is not a family conflict, waiting for wise grandma or smart and balanced brother to tell the siblings to behave, shake hands and come back to the table for a toast and celebration of being altogether in love and peace again.

  5. “Using arguments about “starpower” is not unlike “muscle mediation” (what we (the United States) do in North Korea and the mid-east –use our power to try to dictate terms (and peace).”

    whew…I was worried you would go through the entire post without the obligatory slam at the current administration…

  6. ronbo says:

    This is a job for Secretary of State Sean Penn!