US actors went on strike against film and television companies, marking only the second time in Hollywood history that actors have joined writers in pickets.
The SAG-AFTRA national council held its meeting on Thursday morning and voted unanimously to approve a strike recommendation.
The work stoppage will impact 160,000 union members. The union’s national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said the talks had left the union “with no choice” but to call a strike, while union chairman Fran Drescher said the studios “call for poverty ” and that the producers “are on the wrong side”. of history”.
Strike begins at midnight Friday (USA) and pickets will begin Friday morning. Under the guidelines, SAG-AFTRA members will not be able to attend premieres, do interviews for completed work, attend award shows, attend film festivals, or even promote projects on social media while the strike is in effect.
“We are the victims of a very greedy enterprise,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said at Thursday’s press conference. “At some point you have to say ‘No, we’re not going to take that anymore. You are crazy. What are you doing? Why are you doing this?'”
In his impassioned plea, he argued that streaming and artificial intelligence have upended the business model of the entertainment industry. But, she continued, SAG-AFTRA contracts have not been updated to reflect these advances.
“If we don’t stand up right now, we will all be in danger. You can’t change the business model as much as it has changed and don’t expect the contract to change as well,” he said. they give hundreds of millions to their CEOs. It’s disgusting. Shame on them.”
The Alliance of Film and Television Producers, which represents the studios, says it filed a deal that offered “historic salaries and residual raises, substantially higher caps on pension and health care contributions, auditioning protections, reduced series option periods and a breakthrough AI proposal that protects the digital likenesses of actors for SAG-AFTRA members.
“A strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the artists who bring our TV shows and movies to life,” the AMPTP said in a statement after the strike was confirmed. “The Union has sadly chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the sector.”
In response to the AMPTP statement, Crabtree-Ireland told the news conference, “If you think this is a historic proposition, think again.”
All production under the SAG-AFTRA film and television deal will immediately halt, stalling projects both in the United States and around the world.
It will be SAG-AFTRA’s first attack on film and television companies in four decades. When the actors went on a 95-day strike in July 1980, they pushed for a profit-sharing scheme to get a percentage of the revenue from home news releases. SAG wanted to frontload what it believed would be a lucrative market (SAG merged with AFTRA in 2012).
The only previous “double whammy” – involving both actors and writers – came in 1960, when the Screen Actors Guild was headed by Ronald Reagan. In that strike, both writers and actors grappled with compensation issues stemming from the early days of television. Together they won the residuals for television reruns and for the broadcasting of films on TV and instituted the first social security and welfare plan.