The largest actors union in the United States on Monday accused the organizers of the Oscars of trying to intimidate celebrities not to present at rival award shows.

In an unprecedented statement, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) accused the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of “graceless pressure tactics.”

The 160 000-member union said it was responding to widespread reports in Hollywood that the Academy was pressuring actors not to appear or present at award ceremonies other than the Oscars, which take place on February 24.

The SAG statement was issued as the Academy is still without a host for the Oscars just six weeks ahead of the ceremony and is looking for big name presenters to draw in viewers.

Organizers of the Oscars, the last in a long round of award shows and red carpets in January and February, are trying to revamp the show after ratings for the most prestigious honours in the movie business hit an all-time low in 2018.

The Academy on Monday did not respond to a request for comment on SAG’s statement, which was released two weeks before actors hold their own SAG awards show in Los Angeles on Jan. 26.

SAG said it had received “multiple reports” of pressure from the Academy, as well as experiencing first-hand what it called “attempts to control the awards show talent pipeline.”

“The apparent attempt by the Academy to keep our members from presenting on their own awards show is utterly outrageous and unacceptable,” SAG said in a statement.