Members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) union are going on strike, after they were unable to reach a deal with producers and studios. Members of SAG-AFTRA will join up with more than 11,000 already striking Writers Guild of America (WGA), with the strike to start at midnight, July 14.
The failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers means film and television productions will immediately come to a halt, essentially shutting down Hollywood; the tandem strike of SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America marks the first of its kind in Hollywood since 1960.
The actors union had already granted one extension to its contract, which was originally set to expire July 1, and said it would not concede another. Hollywood performers were looking to improve wages, working conditions and health and pension benefits, as well as create guardrails for the use of artificial intelligence in future television and film productions. Additionally, the union is seeking more transparency from streaming services about viewership so that residual payments can be made equitable to that seen on linear TV.
Fran Drescher, president of the union, said during a press conference Thursday: “We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. It is disgusting. Shame on them … You cannot change the business model as much as it has changed and not expect the contact to change, too.”
The WGA has been on strike since May, and is also seeking higher compensation and residuals, particularly when it comes to streaming shows. The WGA also shares similar concerns over the use of artificial intelligence when it comes to script writing.
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