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Wednesday, 18 October, 2000, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Hurley première picketed
Striking actors
Protesters are not convinced by Hurley's explanation for strike-breaking
Actress and model Elizabeth Hurley has been confronted by an actors' picket at the US première of her new movie Bedazzled.

Hurley, 35, has been criticised for breaking a five-month union actors' strike by appearing in a perfume advertisement.

Protesters demonstrated outside the cinema in Hollywood on Tuesday with banners reading "Elizabeth Scably".

Hurley has apologised in a written statement to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

Elizabeth Hurley
Hurley put on a brave face for the première

Last week she also made a $25,000 (£17,000) donation to the union's relief fund in an attempt to "amicably resolve the matter".

But members of the SAG said they were disappointed by Hurley's explanation that she did not know about the strike and her failure to resolve the matter sooner.

The SAG began their strike against advertisers over pay on 1 May. They have been joined in their action by members of the American Federation of Television and Radio artists (AFTRA).

Hurley broke the boycott in July when she filmed a commercial for the American cosmetics company Estée Lauder.

As a result, the SAG threatened the actress with fines and possible expulsion from the union.

'Victimised'

Hurley has always denied knowing she was doing anything wrong. She also blamed Estée Lauder and its advertising agency for failing to make her aware.

In a letter to strike captain Paul Reggio, Hurley said: "I feel that I have been victimised by those whom I relied upon.

"I have not and will not appear in another commercial over which SAG has jurisdiction while the strike is proceeding and I am sorry and apologise to all SAG members who, I know, have been troubled by these events."

She added that she had been frustrated by her continued efforts over several months to appease the situation with the SAG.

Hurley and Frazer in Bedazzled
Hurley stars in Bedazzled with Brendan Frazer

On 10 October she was told it would take a further 10 days to conclude negotiations. She decided to try to settle things herself by sending the donation, she said.

However, a spokesman for the SAG - which has already received $900,000 (£622,000) in contributions from US celebrities - said Hurley's actions would not prevent her from being disciplined.

"She has expressed her regret in a letter to the union but she is definitely going to have to appear before a trial board," he said.

At the centre of the actors' row with advertisers are "pay-for-play" residuals - money paid to actors which depends on how often their commercials are broadcast.

The striking unions want this system extended to cable TV ads, which currently pay actors a flat rate.

But the advertising industry wants to abolish pay-for-play altogether in favour of a flat fee structure for all commercials.

The strike is the first major Hollywood walkout in 12 years. Several attempts by federal mediators to start negotiations between the two sides have failed.

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See also:

12 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Spacey boosts strikers' fund
18 Jul 00 | Entertainment
Hurley under fire from striking actors
22 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Sports stars break Hollywood strike
17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Hurley sorry for breaking strike
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