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Key Figures in the Hollywood Strikes: An Overview

by Gabriel Martinez
1 comment
Hollywood Strikes

The recent double-barreled strike that effectively halted Hollywood’s operations may be nearing its end as a tentative agreement has been reached to bring screenwriters back to work, ending nearly five months of standstill. This momentous development follows extensive negotiations over five days, addressing critical issues such as pay, the composition of writing teams for television shows, and the use of artificial intelligence in script creation. However, it’s crucial to note that the agreement is still pending approval from union members.

While screenwriters are moving towards resolution, actors, who joined the strike alongside writers in July, have their own set of concerns that have yet to be addressed in negotiations with their union. Nevertheless, the likelihood of renewed talks for actors appears to be on the horizon.

Now, let’s delve into the key figures who played pivotal roles in reaching this agreement and those who may shape the course of future negotiations.

Carol Lombardini – The Behind-the-Scenes Powerhouse

Carol Lombardini, though relatively unknown outside the industry and media-shy, holds a central position in Hollywood’s labor dispute. As the head of opposition in both the writers and actors strikes, she is arguably the most influential individual in this labor stoppage. With 14 years of experience leading negotiations for studios in contract talks with Hollywood’s unions and guilds, Lombardini has a remarkable track record. This includes the recent tentative deal reached on Sunday night.

A lawyer by profession, Lombardini became the president and chief negotiator of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in 2009. The AMPTP represents a coalition of over 350 companies involved in creating contracts with unions. Despite her past reputation as a respected but adversarial figure, she has become a focal point for strikers’ criticism, appearing on picket signs and in parody social media accounts.

Ellen Stutzman – The Unexpected Negotiator

Ellen Stutzman found herself in the midst of the negotiations that led to the writers strike and its eventual resolution. Appointed as the chief negotiator for the Writers Guild just two weeks before contract talks commenced, Stutzman took over from David Young, who stepped down due to health reasons. In her prior role as assistant executive director for the Writers Guild of America West, Stutzman specialized in researching the union’s issues and educating various stakeholders about them.

Notably, she played a crucial role in the writers’ 2019 conflict with talent agents, which saw WGA members parting ways with their representatives en masse. Stutzman’s calm and less confrontational approach contrasted with her predecessor’s style. She graduated from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University and worked for the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers before joining the Writers Guild.

The Executives – Industry Giants

In this labor dispute, three industry leaders have taken center stage: Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos. These executives, along with NBCUniversal Chair and Chief Content Officer Donna Langley, played an active role in restarting negotiations. However, initial efforts by this quartet had faltered, leading to criticism from the writers guild.

Bob Iger, the head of Disney, faced particular scrutiny due to his new contract’s reported value of over $30 million annually and his comments on the industry’s disruptions. Ted Sarandos, representing the streaming model pioneer Netflix, symbolizes the shifting landscape of entertainment. Meanwhile, David Zaslav’s approach to reality TV and programming changes at Warner-Discovery garnered attention before the strikes began.

Fran Drescher – The Inspirational President

Fran Drescher, known for her role in the ’90s sitcom “The Nanny,” is a prominent face of the strikes. She currently serves as the president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television, a position she has held since 2021. Drescher’s impassioned speech at the announcement of the actors’ strike in July resonated with many. Her authenticity and ability to speak from the heart made a lasting impact.

Drescher’s journey from her upbringing in Queens to her successful acting career and activism has solidified her position as a recognizable figure in the entertainment industry.

Writing Presidents – Behind the Scenes

Writers often work in the shadows compared to the actors they write for. The heads of the writers’ unions, Meredith Stiehm and Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, have played essential roles. Stiehm, the Emmy-winning creator of shows like “Cold Case” and “The Bridge,” was reelected as president of the Writers Guild of America West. Takeuchi Cullen, known for her work on TV shows like “The Ordained” and “Law & Order: SVU,” became president of the East counterpart for the first time. These women are set to serve two-year terms.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland – The Guild’s City Manager

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland serves as the national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA. With a background as a criminal prosecutor and an unlikely path to his current position, Crabtree-Ireland has been at the forefront of negotiations. His return to the negotiating table appears imminent, as he oversees operations for the guild.

In conclusion, the Hollywood strikes have been shaped by a diverse group of individuals, from industry veterans to unexpected negotiators, all with their own unique contributions and challenges to navigate. The resolution of the strikes and the future of Hollywood’s labor landscape remain intriguing developments to watch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood Strikes

What were the main issues addressed in the Hollywood strikes?

The main issues in the Hollywood strikes included concerns about pay, the size of writing teams for television shows, and the use of artificial intelligence in script creation. These issues were central to negotiations during the labor stoppage.

Who is Carol Lombardini, and what role did she play in the strikes?

Carol Lombardini is the president and chief negotiator of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). She played a pivotal role in representing studios in contract talks with Hollywood’s unions and guilds, including the negotiations that led to the tentative agreement in the strikes.

Who is Ellen Stutzman, and why was her role unexpected?

Ellen Stutzman is an attorney who assumed the position of chief negotiator for the Writers Guild shortly before contract talks began. Her role was unexpected because she took over from the previous lead negotiator, David Young, just two weeks before negotiations commenced.

What role did the executives Bob Iger, David Zaslav, and Ted Sarandos play in the strikes?

Bob Iger, David Zaslav, and Ted Sarandos, along with Donna Langley, were industry executives who actively participated in restarting negotiations. They represent major entertainment companies and were directly involved in negotiations for several days.

Who is Fran Drescher, and what impact did she have on the strikes?

Fran Drescher, known for her role in “The Nanny,” is the president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television. She made a passionate and impromptu speech at the announcement of the actors’ strike, which resonated with many and inspired the actors’ union.

Who are the writing presidents Meredith Stiehm and Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, and what are their roles?

Meredith Stiehm and Lisa Takeuchi Cullen are the heads of the writers’ unions. Stiehm, known for creating shows like “Cold Case” and “The Bridge,” was reelected as president of the Writers Guild of America West. Takeuchi Cullen, with credits including “The Ordained” and “Law & Order: SVU,” became president of the East counterpart for the first time. They oversee negotiations and union activities.

Who is Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and what is his role in the strikes?

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland serves as the national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union. He has a unique background, having previously worked as a criminal prosecutor, and now oversees operations and negotiations for the guild.

More about Hollywood Strikes

  • [Hollywood Strikes: Screenwriters and Actors in Standoff](insert link)
  • [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)](insert link)
  • [Writers Guild of America](insert link)
  • [Disney CEO Bob Iger](insert link)
  • [Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav](insert link)
  • [Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos](insert link)
  • [Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television (SAG-AFTRA)](insert link)

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1 comment

JoJo123 September 25, 2023 - 8:55 am

wow, this hollywood strikes stuff sounds crazy, lot of big names involved, like disney ceo, fran drescher too! they fightin for pay, script stuff, and more. imma read this again later!

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