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Spoiler Alert: Why the 'Glee' Extra (Sort of) Matters

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By now, people everywhere—or at least those who have too much time on their hands and don’t care about real news—know the story of Nicole Crowther, the “Glee” extra who tweeted a spoiler about an upcoming episode and immediately became the most reviled girl in all of Internetland. After Crowther revealed the identity of McKinley High’s prom queen (sadly, it’s not Carrie White), “Glee” fans took to message boards to call for her head. Then series co-creator Brad Falchuk threatened her career via Twitter, saying that he hoped the actor was “qualified to do something besides work in entertainment.” Then Donald Trump demanded to see her birth certificate.

After days of silence, Crowther fired back on Monday, having no doubt realized over the weekend that her 15 minutes had arrived and she better join the party before it ended. The actor issued a statement asserting that she wasn’t even involved in the taping of the episode in question and had heard the spoiler from a friend at a dinner party. “I didn’t violate any code of ethics or violate a contract,” Crowther said. She did not add, “And Brad Falchuk is a self-important bully who can sit on it,” but she probably should have.

Whether Crowther violated her contract was never an issue. In fact, when news outlets first began reporting the story last week, several focused on word from unnamed sources that Fox would seek to alter its day-player agreements to include nondisclosure language—language that was not present in Crowther’s agreement, leaving producers no recourse other than to publicly disparage her. The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that the Screen Actors Guild contract that “Glee” uses for day players does not have a nondisclosure clause. That’s true, but it isn’t necessarily relevant in the case of Crowther, who is not a SAG member, was not working on a SAG voucher, and had worked on the show as a background performer rather than a day player.

SAG covers “Glee,” but it’s not the only television actors’ union in the business. If any network were to attempt to unilaterally impose nondisclosure agreements on all its performers, it would raise eyebrows at the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. AFTRA would likely take the position that a confidentiality clause that included penalties would have to be negotiated into the collective bargaining agreement before it could be enforced.

Whether SAG would take the same position as AFTRA is unclear, but it’s worth considering that the two unions just negotiated their prime-time television contracts side by side. (Not to mention that they’ve been talking lately about, you know, merging into one union. What, no one told you?)

Of course, Crowther is not a union performer, but even if she were, there is nothing that a union could do to keep a producer from simply not hiring someone with a proven track record of revealing plot spoilers on Twitter. Crowther didn’t deserve to have one of the more powerful people in network television get all “You’ll never work in this town again!” on her—in public, no less. But she didn’t exactly use a lot of common sense either.

Pictured: "Glee" co-creator Brad Falchuk. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Comments

Brad Falchuk is an a**hole. And Glee is poorly written, maudlin, and, perhaps, the harbinger of the end of Western society (along with 2 1/2 Men).

I worked on that show for one day. Those people are dicks. Not long ago they were just nobodys that lucked out as the show became a surprise hit. If they keep treating people the way they do, they'll end up back where they came from: nothingness.

Okay, the producer was a jerk--but every time I worked on a soap opera, we were told not to tell anyone what happened on the episode. Even before the internet, it was frowned upon to disclose stuff before it aired. It shouldn't be necessary to explain that, but, well, you should stay quiet about anything you even think you know before the show is on for all the world to see. Crowther came off looking like an amateur. If that's all she wants to be, fine. But if she wants to be a professional, she should act like an adult and SHUT UP!!!

Glee is a very shallow make believe story about very shallow make believe people, to make such a big deal about such a shallow show only indicates more shallowness that leads to more shallowness.

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