Saturday, May 18, 2024

Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence Among A-Listers to Revolt Against Actors-Union Contract Settlement

Must read

For the past two months, the Writers of Guild of America has been on strike after they failed to strike a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers.

Then in June, around the time the Directors Guild of America and the Hollywood studios were reaching a tentative agreement, the Screen Actors Guild readied for a possible strike of their own.

Earlier this week, SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher released a video message striking a tone of optimism about what she called “extremely productive negotiations” and vowing that they was on the verge of achieving a “seminal deal.”

Not so fast, says more than 300 actors, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon and Meryl Streep, who signed a letter urging the SAG-AFTRA Leadership and Negotiating Committee that “what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough.”

Calling attention to the issues underlying the 2023 labor strife “an unprecedented inflection point” the passionate appeal expresses dismay of actors at a scenario that “SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not.”

Kevin Bacon, Fred Armisen, Elizabeth Banks, Connie Britton, Neve Campbell, Brandon Fraser, Glenn Close, Keke Palmer, Parker Posey, Ben Stiller and Marissa Tomei are among the film and TV stars who signed the letter.

Fearing a compromise by the negotiators of SAG-AFTRA on issues sensitive to members, like protection of their likenesses from the use of artificial intelligence, the letter states that the signatories are “prepared to strike if it comes to that.”

“We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories,” reads the letter, which was obtained by Rolling Stone.

“SAG-AFTRA declines to comment due to our ongoing negotiations and mutually agreed upon news blackout,” said Pamela Greenwalt, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for SAG-AFTRA.

The 2023 writers’ strike has already upended production schedules in Hollywood, holding up movie release dates and altering the production of TV shows.. All major film and TV productions in L.A. have been shut down due to the strike. The last stragglers, including Yellowstone, closed up shop within the last few weeks, LAMag reported.

In addition to better compensation and working conditions, the WGA is asking for increased residuals and a policy on AI-generated work. Specifically, the union rejects what it characterizes as the transformation of the industry into a de-facto freelance work force.

In closing, the actors ask their leadership to reject compromise and join the writers on the picket line.

“If you are not able to get all the way there, we ask that you use the power given to you by us, the membership, and join the WGA on the picket lines,” they write. “For our union and its future, this is our moment. We hope that, on our behalf, you will meet that moment and not miss it.”

For the complete list of actors who signed the protest letter, click here.

More articles

Latest article