Hollywood is officially shut down after actors joined the writers on the picket line following SAG-AFTRA unanimously voting to strike against TV and film companies for only the second time in Hollywood history.
Spotted on Variety, actors will officially join the picket line at midnight Friday, meaning they cannot attend any premieres, participate in junkets for completed projects, attend award shows, or even tweet about their films, per guidelines.
“Union members should withhold their labor until a fair contract can be achieved,” Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator of SAG-AFTRA, told the room of SAG actors and journalists. “They have left us with no alternative.”
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said during a Thursday press conference “We are being victimized by a very greedy enterprise. At some point you have to say ‘No, we’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy. What are you doing? Why are you doing this?'”
Streaming Networks & Artificial Intelligence Are At The Root of The Issue
In her plea, the Nanny actress focused on streaming networks and the rise of artificial intelligence as the blame for the fall of the current business model.
“If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in jeopardy. You cannot change the business model as much as it has been changed and not expect the contract to change too,” she said. “I cannot believe … how [the studios] plead poverty, that they are losing money left and right when they give hundreds of millions to their CEOs. It is disgusting. Shame on them.”
Following recent comments from Disney CEO Bob Iger, where he accused the actors and writers of being “unrealistic” due to their demands, Drescher let the chopper spray, saying, “If I were that company, I would lock him behind doors & never let him talk to anybody about this.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, clapped back, saying it offered a proposal that offered “historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members.”
In a statement following the approval of the motion to strike, the AMTP said, “A strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life,” adding, “The Union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.”
The WGA & SAG-AFTRA Are Standing In Solidarity In Hopes For Drastic Changes
In a statement from the already striking WGA negotiating committee says it stands “solidly behind our union siblings in SAG-AFTRA as they begin their work stoppage.”
Adding, “The last time both of our unions struck at the same time, actors and writers won landmark provisions that we all continue to benefit from today – residuals and pension and health funds.”
The last time there was a “double strike” with actors and writers was in 1960. At the time, Ronald Reagan led the Screen Actors Guild as actors and writers argued for better compensation during the dawn of television.
Now it’s the rise of streaming television which both unions argue made it difficult for middle-class to earn livable wages, and the rise of artificial intelligence threatening to take away work from both writers and actors.
Hollywood Quickly Responds
The effects of SAG-AFTRA agreeing to strike were felt instantly. The cast of Christopher Nolan’s latest epic, Oppenheimer, left the UK premiere to join the picket line.
Xolo Maridueña, the star of James Gunn’s upcoming DCU superhero film Blue Beetle announced via Twitter he would not be promoting the movie due to the strike.
Also, after seeing plenty of new set photos from Marvel Studios’ upcoming film Deadpool 3, production has stopped because of the strike.
This news is sad, but we are all about the actors and writers getting compensated fairly for their work.
Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Getty