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Amid Hollywood’s Striking Actors and Writers from Los Angeles to New York

by Lucas Garcia
5 comments
Hollywood Strike

Hollywood and midtown Manhattan are echoing the sentiment, “Strike Girl Summer.”

The pavements of these famous locales were bustling with actors who were striking on the first day, standing shoulder to shoulder with the writers who have been protesting since May.

Both the actors’ and writers’ guilds have effectively halted the entertainment industry. A palpable sense of solidarity and optimism was evident on both coasts. Support flooded in from the 65,000 actors who are members of SAG-AFTRA (98% of whom had voted for a strike in June), re-energizing the picket lines. This is the biggest labor upheaval Hollywood has seen in 60 years and the first joint strike since 1960, rekindling the battle against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers during a historic heatwave in Southern California.

Outside the Warner Bros. studios in Burbank, California, a crowd of protesters echoed chants of “Fists up, curtains down, LA is a union town.” Amidst the sweltering heat of 98 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 Celsius), food trucks stationed by the organizers’ tents provided churros, boba tea, and chilled lemonade to the demonstrators.

Regardless of the heat, spirits remained high. Protesters cooled off with sprays of water while dancing to the rhythm of reggaeton music, and motorists honked in solidarity with signs reading: “Honk if your boss is overpaid.”

On the picket lines, parents carried their children and cheered each other on with signs emblazoned with assertive lyrics from Olivia Rodrigo’s new single, “Vampire,” channeling their “Big Strike Energy.”

Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA and the once-star of “The Nanny,” expressed during SAG’s press conference, “The jig is up… If we don’t stand tall right now, we’re all going to be in trouble.”

Adam Conover, a member of SAG and WGA who serves on the latter’s negotiating committee, took notice of the influx of SAG members’ support.

According to Conover, “If you are gaining momentum like we are 70-odd days into a strike, you are going to win… our picket lines are more full than ever and now have another union on strike with us.”

Simultaneous strikes by SAG and WGA last occurred over six decades ago.

“Executives are facing the fact that they cannot shoot anything until they come back and make a fair deal, not with one union but with both unions,” Conover added.

Fellow guild member Zora Bikangaga viewed Friday’s picket as “invigorating,” pointing to the pervasive issues across the entire industry.

While the entertainment industry has seen significant changes since the last strike, actors argue that their rates and contracts have not been adjusted to reflect inflation and other shifts.

Ron Song, an actor known for his role on Amazon Freevee’s “Jury Duty,” stated, “They use the gig economy as a way to say, ‘This is how you can be more independent,’ when it actually weakens the value and strength of organized labor.”

The first full day of the strike was marked by high spirits, a sense of unity, and a mingling of joy, anger, and frustration.

Stacey Travis, a longtime SAG-AFTRA member, emphasized the gravity of the decision to strike. She expressed, “It’s very difficult on everyone… it’s only when we’re backed up against the wall and we have no options that we find ourselves here.”

Peter Carellini, another actor, cited the advancements in AI, residuals, and the wage disparity between high-ranking executives and the workers as reasons for the strike. “Writers and actors are going to the Emmys with negative bank accounts while executives are making untold millions in bonuses,” he said.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood Strike

What is the “Strike Girl Summer”?

“Strike Girl Summer” is a phrase that has been used to describe the mood and sentiment of the striking actors and writers in Hollywood and midtown Manhattan during the summer of the strike.

Who are involved in the Hollywood strike?

The strike involves the members of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA).

What is the main reason behind the strike?

The strike is largely due to disagreements over rates and contracts which actors argue haven’t evolved to match inflation and other changes in the entertainment industry, such as the rise of streaming services and artificial intelligence.

When was the last simultaneous strike by SAG and WGA?

The last simultaneous strike by SAG and WGA occurred over six decades ago in 1960.

How has the strike affected the entertainment industry?

The strike has effectively halted the entertainment industry, with no new scripts being produced and no new shooting happening until a fair deal is reached with both unions.

Who is Fran Drescher and what is her role in the strike?

Fran Drescher, once the star of “The Nanny,” is the current president of SAG-AFTRA and has been an active voice during the strike. She has expressed the importance of standing tall during this critical period in the entertainment industry.

What is the role of the public in supporting the strike?

The public has shown support for the striking actors and writers by honking their car horns in response to signs such as “Honk if your boss is overpaid,” thereby contributing to the buoyant mood and sense of solidarity on the picket lines.

More about Hollywood Strike

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5 comments

ScreenScribbler July 15, 2023 - 6:35 pm

As a small time writer, i feel this. we need our due too. not just the big shot execs making all the dough while we’re scraping by. good on SAG and WGA!

Reply
GlamourGlitz July 15, 2023 - 10:47 pm

saw Fran Drescher at the press conference on TV, she was totally on point. “If we don’t stand tall right now, we’re all going to be in trouble” – couldn’t agree more!

Reply
Reel2Reel July 16, 2023 - 1:01 am

guys it’s not just a hollywood issue, it’s a labor issue… workers everywhere deserve better. hoping the strike brings some change…

Reply
Cali_Girl July 16, 2023 - 5:49 am

I passed by the picket lines in LA yesterday, it was intense! So many people… and in this heat too. Go, Strike Girl Summer!!!

Reply
JimmyTheFilmBuff July 16, 2023 - 1:25 pm

Man, this strike is a BIG deal! No new scripts, no shootings, Hollywood’s gotta listen to these guys. It’s high time we value our entertainers right.

Reply

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