Amazon’s Transparent was previously thought of as one of the most inclusive shows to ever air–well, stream anyway. The show features a senior transgender woman, a late-blooming lesbian daughter, her bisexual sister, a Jewish son with a loose tie to his religion, a woman who prefers younger partners, and so on, which has garnered the show applause for its acceptance of all across the board.
And even though its music has not been honored the way that its acting, writing, and producing have through physical trophies, the sound is thought of to be of great importance to the show. Nearly every scene is flavored with lyric and chord, and the opening theme coupled with images of transgender and drag women have become famous.
As it turns out, neither of these beliefs are wholly true, or so say Los Angeles musicians.
Transparent is coming under fire today through accusations that the show is preventing its musicians from unionizing, Variety reports. At least a dozen members of the American Federation of Musicians, the largest supporter of professional musicians in both the United States and Canada, passed out pamphlets outside of the show’s Pearblossom, California shoot on Tuesday in protest of what these union members see as unequal working conditions.
The Local 47 chapter, which represents and protects artists in the Hollywood and outreaching areas, claimed that while the actors, writers, directors, and members of the crew were all allowed union backing, Transparent refused the same privilege to working music talent for the show. This means while the entire rest of the staff can receive union-approved labor wages as well as benefits, only the musicians are being left out of those advantages.
“Where’s the pride for musicians?” the protesting chapter asked of Transparent.
As of yet, Amazon has declined to comment, but according to Local 47 President John Acosta, the studio had initially been in agreement over allowing union musicians to contribute to the show’s score.
“At first they were very open,” said Acosta to The LA Times. As time progressed, however, Amazon became “less responsive” until they cut communication altogether. As a result, the musicians hired to supplement music to flavor those scenes with lyric and chord were refused unionization.
The lack of union contracts appears to only apply to Transparent musicians as well. Bands that have contributed to Amazon‘s other hit show, Mozart in the Jungle, were all given the labor contracts they desired, says the American Federation for Musicians.
Transparent isn’t the first show to come at odds with the AFM over labor contracts either. The union organization has protested other companies in the recent past over nonunion treatment, including Warner Bros late last year.
“We aren’t asking for huge wage increases, or extravagant bonuses,” says Acosta. “All we want is to be offered a fair contract in line with the industry standard.”
So far, the protests have not interrupted the filming of Transparent season three, which is going on now.