Actors officially join writers on strike and shut down Hollywood
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Featured Image Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images / Charley Gallay/Getty Images
After weeks of strikes from writers in Hollywood, many of those who bring their stories to life have officially joined the fight.
Dozens of actors have been joining their behind-the-scenes friends on the picket line in recent months, with protestors gathering outside the studios of major companies including Netflix, Disney and Paramount amid calls for better pay and working conditions.
Many stars have shared images showing their solidarity with writers, but the protest has now taken the next step as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced that its colleagues who are in the Writers Guild of America would be joining the strike.
In a press conference today (13 July), SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, said: “Because the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers, SAG-AFTRA’s national board unanimously voted to issue a strike order against studios and streamers."
The decision marks the first time since 1960 that both actors and writers have joined the picket line in film and television productions, and comes after the actor's union released a statement announcing that contract talks ended last night without a resolution.
Fran Drescher, president of the actors’ guild, said: “The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal."
In its own statement, the AMPTP commented: “This is the Union’s choice, not ours. In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more."
Before the actors' decision to join the strike was officially announced, Disney CEO Bob Iger admitted that the idea was 'disturbing' to him.
Speaking in an appearance on CNBC’s 'Squawk Box', Iger said: "We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID which is ongoing, it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption...
"We managed, as an industry, to negotiate a very good deal with the directors guild that reflects the value that the directors contribute to this great business.
"We wanted to do the same thing with the writers, and we’d like to do the same thing with the actors. There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
The actors' guild has said its industrial action will begin at midnight Los Angeles time tonight.