Conflict in Hollywood: The Actors Strike Back

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Jason Sudeikis and other famous actors protesting (Image Credit: BBC)

After weeks of failed negotiation between AMPTP, the representatives of motion picture studios such as Warner Bros, Walt Disney Studios, etc., and the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who represent around 11,500 Hollywood, the WGA announced they would officially go on strike. 

The WGA attempted to negotiate on behalf of workers for better wages, sufficient staffing on projects, better deals, and safeguards on the use of AI so as not to replace writers. However, when both parties failed to agree to a satisfactory arrangement, the WGA chose to fight back by going on strike. 

A couple of weeks later, in July, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) officially went on strike along with the Writers Guild of America. SAG-AFTRA represents over 160,000 members consisting mainly of actors but also a wide variety of members working in the entertainment industry. 

The demands from SAG-AFTRA have been quite similar to those of the WGA, fighting for better wages, working conditions, and safeguards around the usage of AI. 

Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, would go on to justify the importance of this strike and the stakes it holds for the entire industry, saying

“We stand in solidarity in unprecedented unity. Our union and our sister unions and the unions around the world are standing by us, as well as other labor unions. Because at some point, the jig is up. You cannot keep being dwindled and marginalized, disrespected, and dishonored. The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, and AI. This is a moment of history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business who cares more about Wall Street than you and your family,”

With both the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA striking, all of Hollywood is essentially frozen. With both writers and actors striking, numerous upcoming films and shows have been delayed. Production on upcoming Hollywood projects such as “Deadpool 3”, “Stranger Things,” and more have already been put on hold, with no signs of production resuming anytime soon. However, the delay of films and shows is not the end of the impact this strike will have. This Hollywood strike is theorized to exceed 3 billion dollars in economic fallout, with countless workers’ jobs and wages being put at risk for this strike.

This strike will also exert a heavy economic burden on major production companies. With the sudden shutdown of high-profile productions, the estimated toll this strike could exact on production companies would be around, losing 600,000 dollars every week. Major productions cost a lot of money to finish, such as managing and affording sets and props, and the longer the strike holds out, the more financial toll companies will need to endure. 

Written by Kevin Han

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