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Hollywood actors join screenwriters in historic industry-stopping strike as contract talks collapse

by Gabriel Martinez
5 comments
Hollywood Strike

On Thursday, Hollywood actors and screenwriters united in a monumental joint strike, halting industry operations due to a breakdown in contract negotiations. This shutdown marks the first cooperative strike by the Hollywood unions in over sixty years, with the previous one taking place in 1960, when Ronald Reagan was the president of the actors’ guild.

Fran Drescher, president of the actors’ union and former star of “The Nanny,” accused industry executives of prioritizing Wall Street and greed over their vital workforce in an impassioned announcement of the strike, scheduled to begin at midnight.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing major employers like Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and others, had their three-year contract negotiations collapse earlier that day.

As soon as the strike was declared, screenwriters assembled outside Netflix’s Hollywood offices, chanting “Pay Your Actors!” From Friday, actors will also start to picket alongside the writers at studio headquarters in New York and Los Angeles.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Oscar-winning actress, expressed her solidarity through an Instagram post featuring the iconic tragic and comic masks representing acting, captioned, “It looks like it’s time to take down the MASKS. And pick up the SIGNS.”

The upcoming London premiere of Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” was preponed by an hour to allow the cast, including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, and Matt Damon, to grace the red carpet before the strike announcement, following which they promptly left the event.

The first strike by film and television actors since 1980 jeopardizes the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards, as union rules prohibit actors from participating in any promotions or interviews related to the awards. They may even be absent from the ceremony itself. The strike terms also forbid actors from making personal appearances, promoting their work on podcasts, premieres, or performing any production work, including auditions, readings, rehearsals, voiceovers, and actual shooting.

Bob Iger, the chief of Disney, expressed his concerns on CNBC, warning that the strike would inflict severe damage on the industry, noting that the actors’ expectations were somewhat unrealistic.

The two-week extension of the union contract only exacerbated the hostility between the actors and the studios, according to Drescher, who suggested that the extension allowed studios to promote their summer movies for an additional 12 days.

The strike affects the more than 160,000 members represented by SAG-AFTRA, which includes screen actors, broadcast journalists, announcers, hosts, and stunt performers. Meanwhile, Broadway actors expressed their solidarity with SAG-AFTRA members.

In addition to the actors’ strike, the Writers Guild of America, consisting of 11,500 members, has been on strike since their contract expired on May 2. The impact of these strikes is already apparent, with late-night talk shows and several scripted shows such as “Stranger Things” on Netflix, “Hacks” on Max, and “Family Guy” on Fox being paused or shut down, with many more expected to follow suit.

This report was contributed to by Big Big News journalists Sian Watson in London, Krysta Fauria in Los Angeles, and Jake Coyle and Jocelyn Noveck in New York. More information on the Hollywood strikes can be found at https://bigbignews.net/hollywood-strikes/.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood Strike

What led to the joint strike by Hollywood actors and screenwriters?

The joint strike by Hollywood actors and screenwriters was triggered by a breakdown in contract negotiations.

Who is the president of the actors’ union leading the strike?

The president of the actors’ union leading the strike is Fran Drescher, a former star of “The Nanny.”

Where are the actors and screenwriters picketing?

The actors and screenwriters are picketing outside studio headquarters in New York and Los Angeles.

How does this strike affect the upcoming 75th Emmy Awards?

Due to the strike, union rules prohibit actors from participating in any promotions or interviews related to the awards, and they may even be absent from the ceremony itself.

Who is expected to be affected by this strike?

The strike impacts more than 160,000 members represented by SAG-AFTRA, which includes screen actors, broadcast journalists, announcers, hosts, and stunt performers. It also affects the entertainment industry broadly, including studios, producers, and potentially the audience.

Are there any shows or films that have been immediately affected by the strike?

Yes, the strike has caused an immediate shutdown of late-night talk shows and several scripted shows, such as “Stranger Things” on Netflix, “Hacks” on Max, and “Family Guy” on Fox.

More about Hollywood Strike

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5 comments

StarryEyed July 14, 2023 - 1:39 am

Fran Drescher’s still around? Loved her in The Nanny! Go girl, fight for what’s right.

Reply
Mike J. July 14, 2023 - 2:58 pm

wow, this is crazy!! Can’t believe theyre actually going on strike.. gonna miss my shows 🙁

Reply
Sarah T. July 14, 2023 - 3:02 pm

about time the actors stood up for themselves! these big corporations can’t just keep making profits off of their hard work and talent. more power to them!

Reply
KathyL July 14, 2023 - 6:13 pm

So this is why stranger things paused their production… great, just when I was eagerly waiting for the new season!

Reply
John_Doe90 July 14, 2023 - 10:13 pm

Yea but what about us, the viewers? Strikes are bad for everyone. Hope they resolve this soon…

Reply

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