Danny Glover has emerged as the first to follow a long Oscars tradition, using the widely watched ceremony for political purposes. He wants actors to boycott Hugo Boss suits as part of an Ohio labor dispute.
Political protests at the Oscars is nothing new.
One of the most famous episodes involved, Marlon Brando. In 1973, declined the Best Actor award at the 45th Annual Academy Awards to protest the treatment of American Indians.
In this case, the “Lethal Weapon” star is trying to rally public sympathy for the Workers United, a labor union, representing 375 Cleveland-area factory workers who make Boss clothes.
Their jobs are in jeopardy because the company wants to move the work overseas next month. The company has facilities in Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria.
Glover wrote a letter, Feb. 26, asking Oscar attendees to “take a small stand for American workers.” He’s hoping to get red carpet walkers to wear lapels pins reading, “Keep the Hugo Boss Plant Open.”
Workers United, which represents most of the plant’s employees, said the plant is profitable and the company is shutting it because it can make clothing more cheaply in Europe.
The union, affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, has also posted an online petition urging Hollywood to shun Hugo Boss at the Oscars.
Hugo Boss chief operating officer Andreas Stockertsaid in his own letter that the company has a responsibility to shareholders. The company claims the plant is under capacity and isn’t globally competitive.
The union maintains that the company wanted wage concessions, dropping average hourly wages from $13 an hour to $8.30.