The actors are very upset, and they’ve decided they won’t tolerate the situation anymore. After the nominations for the 2023 Emmy Awards were announced, the actors’ union called SAG-AFTRA declared a strike.
This means they stopped working officially just after midnight on Friday, July 14. The union represents about 160,000 actors from around the world who work in film and television.
The decision to strike was made unanimously by SAG-AFTRA’s national board, as announced by the union’s President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland in a press conference.
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Prior to this, a large majority of the SAG members had already voted in favor of a strike, with nearly 98 percent supporting it if it was needed.
“It came with great sadness that we came to this crossroads. But we had no choice. We are the victims here,” Drescher said. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. I cannot believe it, quite frankly. How far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right while giving hundreds and millions of dollars to their CEOS. It is disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history at this very moment.”
She continued: “We stand in solidarity in unprecedented unity. Our union and our sister unions and the unions around the world are standing by us as well as other labor unions. Because at some point, the jig is up. You cannot keep being dwindled and marginalized and disrespected and dishonored. The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, AI. This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business, who cares more about wall street than you and your family.”
When the actors’ union couldn’t reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) by their contract deadline on June 30, they extended the negotiation period until July 12.
Unfortunately, they still couldn’t find common ground for a contract that both sides could accept. The Writers’ Guild of America, another union, has been on strike since May 1, and actors have been showing their support by joining them on picket lines.
Many experts anticipated that a strike would happen, especially after more than 1,000 actors, including famous names like Glenn Close, Meryl Streep, Pedro Pascal, and Joaquin Phoenix, signed a letter asking the actors’ union not to compromise on their demands from AMPTP.
SAG-AFTRA is officially going on strike:
SAG-AFTRA is officially going on strike.
This is the first time both the actors & writers are on strike in over 60 years. pic.twitter.com/1S4Xnq3bdp
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 13, 2023
SAG-AFTRA Is Officially on Strike
Now, the actors are officially going on strike alongside their fellow creatives who are already on strike, to fight for their rights and what they believe is fair.
During the strike, actors are not allowed to take part in any TV shows or movies that fall under the AMPTP contracts. This means they can’t do any on-camera acting, record dialogue replacement (ADR), narrate trailers, or do any voice acting.
They also can’t work as background actors, promote projects covered by the contract (including interviews, red carpet events, social media promotions, premieres, and fan conventions), or do any pre-production activities like auditions, wardrobe fittings, camera tests, and more.
This strike is a significant event in Hollywood’s labor history. It’s the first time since 1960 that both the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) have gone on strike at the same time.
The 1960 strike focused on getting fair compensation for movies shown on television, which led to the creation of residuals (additional payments) for actors, writers, directors, and some crew members. It also resulted in improved health insurance and pension plans for WGA and SAG members.
In this current strike, one of the main issues is about getting fair residuals for streaming services. Additionally, there are concerns about the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in film and TV.
The hope is that the combined strike of both unions will put pressure on the AMPTP to return to negotiations and find solutions that will allow Hollywood to resume its normal operations.
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