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Students yell at Warner Bros. CEO to 'pay your writers' as they interrupt his speech at graduation ceremony

Students yell at Warner Bros. CEO to 'pay your writers' as they interrupt his speech at graduation ceremony

He was giving a speech during a graduation ceremony at Boston University back in May

As the writers’ strike continues, footage has resurfaced of Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav being heckled during a graduation speech.

Zaslav was giving a speech during a graduation ceremony at Boston University back in May, themed around working with ‘difficult people’.

However, he was abruptly interrupted by students chanting and booing the studio executive during the commencement event.

In the viral clip, the Warner Bros. CEO can be heard speaking about the working world and the importance of good professional relationships.

“If you want to be successful, you’re going to have to figure out how to get along with everyone,” Zaslav pointedly tells the crowd: “And that includes difficult people.”

As he pauses for breath though, the chants from the Boston students threaten to drown out the studio exec.

“Pay your writers”, they call as multiple people heckled the CEO in support of writers’ strike.

While most people would wait for the audience to settle, Zaslav tries to push on with the pre-planned speech.

“Some people…some people will be looking for a fight,” he says, only to stop as the angry audience continue to shout him down.

The CEO was heckled by students as he received the honorary degree.
Boston University

He then does a thumbs-up, as students continue to chant and turn their backs on Zaslav, as he shared his tips for breaking into the entertainment industry.

The exec attended Boston University, having graduated from law school in 1985 before going on to receive an honorary degree during the May ceremony.

Meanwhile, the protests continued outside over the CEO.

An estimated 200 students picketed outside the stadium, with signs that read ‘Protect Residuals Not CEOs’ and ‘F**k Zaslav! Solidarity with the Writers’.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Zaslav said: “I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognizes their value.”

The incident happened just three weeks after the beginning of the Writers Guild of American action, which saw members walk out over pay.

His appearance didn't go down too well.
Boston University

Since then, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has also joined the industry-wide strike after studios failed to meet the group’s demands.

Many involved are demanding better fees from residuals, with some writers and actors receiving just pennies every time a show is streamed online.

A-Listers have also been heavily involved, with the cast of Oppenheimer leaving the London premiere in solidarity with their colleagues.

In an interview that happened moments before the mass walkout, Matt Damon told Associated Press: “We got to protect the people who are kind of the margins…”

He went on to explain that many writers and actors rely on residual payments in order to meet the threshold for union healthcare – which currently is $26,000 (£19k).

“If those residual payments dry up, so does their healthcare and that’s absolutely unacceptable,” he added.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@Todd_Spence

Topics: Education, Film and TV, US News, Warner Bros, SAG-AFTRA Writers Strike