Tonight Show host Jay Leno was brought before a trial committee Wednesday to address charges that he broke the rules of the Writers' Guild of America by writing and performing monologues during the writers' strike.
These proceedings come a year after the violations in question took place. The committee suggests that Leno, who prominently backed the WGA during the work stoppage, violated the rules of the strike by performing "struck" work that would have otherwise been done by a WGA member.
When the Tonight Show came back on the air nine weeks into the strike — without its writing staff — Leno noted that he had written the monologue himself. "I'm doing what I did the day I started," he said to the audience. "I write jokes and wake my wife up in the middle of the night and say, 'Honey, is this funny?'"
But Leno, who was seen bringing doughnuts to picketing writers, also assured viewers that he was paying attention to the strike. "We are following the Guild thing," Leno said. "We can write for ourselves."
Leno claims he did nothing wrong, and NBC backs him, stating he is exempt from the strike rules because he is a performer. The committee suggested that as a Guild member and a credited writer for the show, Leno shouldn't have been writing at all.
Leno is the best known among a handful of writers who have cases being reviewed by the committee. Depending on the outcome, Leno faces the possibility of a reprimand, a fine or even expulsion from the union.
Do you think Leno did anything wrong?