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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
More union trouble for Hurley
Elizabeth hurley
Hurley let membership payments pile up
Actress and model Elizabeth Hurley was kicked out of UK actors' union Equity almost two years ago, it has been revealed.

A spokesman for Equity said on Thursday that Hurley was ejected in 1998 for non-payment of her membership fees.

"She is no longer a member. She ceased being a member in November because we hadn't had any subs since 1995," he said.


We would have written to her on about six different occasions reminding her about her outstanding subscription

Equity spokesman

The revelation comes in the same week that Hurley was jeered as a "scab" at the LA première of her new movie Bedazzled for breaking a strike by US union actors.

Hurley's former boyfriend, Hugh Grant, was also on the verge of being booted out of Equity for not paying his subscription.

However, the star of hit movies Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill settled his backlog and restarted his membership on Thursday.

"As he is now a member again it is a matter of confidentiality how much he owed, but it was quite a lot," confirmed the Equity spokesman.

'Regret'

Hurley has appeared in 26 films and produced two others. Her best known roles have been in the two Austin Powers movies.

Grant and Hurley
Grant has now paid up

While membership of Equity is not compulsory for British actors to work in the UK, it is generally considered both a privilege and a safeguard by members of the profession.

Equity said it regretted having to end Hurley's membership but under the circumstances had no choice.

"We seek to represent the entire profession and it's always a matter of regret that anyone working in our profession is not a member of Equity," the spokesman said.

"We would have written to her on about six different occasions reminding her about her outstanding subscription.

"Eventually we would have sent a letter saying we were sorry but we were taking her membership away."

Strike

In the US, Hurley is still a member of the acting union the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG).

The union has been involved in a bitter dispute with advertisers over pay since 1 May.

SAG protesters
Union members in LA showed their anger at the Bedazzled screening

However, Hurley, the "face" of US cosmetics company Estee Lauder, has been severely criticised by the SAG for making a commercial for the firm in July.

Hurley has apologised, saying she was not aware that she was doing anything wrong. She has also donated $25,000 (£17,000) to the union's relief fund.

But the SAG has refused to be appeased. A demonstration at the Bedazzled screening on Tuesday came as members increased pressure for disciplinary action to be taken against the actress - which could lead to expulsion.

In a copy of a letter Hurley wrote to union chiefs published in The Sun, Hurley blamed Estee Lauder's advertising agents for failing to let her know about the strike.

Equity said that had Hurley remained on its books, she would have been better informed.

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See also:

18 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Hurley première picketed
19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
End to Hollywood strike 'in sight'
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