Hollywood actors strike, shutting down the film, TV industry
Hollywood actors have voted to strike, joining already-striking writers in a move that shuts down the production of countless movies and TV shows.
“I went in in earnest, thinking we could avert the strike, so the gravity of this move is not lost on me,” Screen Actors Guild president Fran Drescher said Thursday at a news conference in Los Angeles announcing the strike, which officially begins at midnight local time Thursday and will find actors on the picket lines Friday morning.
We had no choice. We are the victims here, being victimized by a very greedy entity,” she said. “They stand on the wrong side of history. We stand in unprecedented unity. At some point the jig is up, you can’t keep being marginalized and disrespected. The business model has been changed by streaming and AI. If we don’t stand tall right now, we’ll all be in jeopardy. At some point you have to say, no, we’re not going to take this anymore.”
The combined SAG and Writers Guild of America strikes mean the immediate shutdown of any TV show or movie currently in production, and includes promotional appearances ranging from red carpet walks to media junkets. While the duration of the strike is an unknown, some reports suggest studios are willing to hold out into the fall to win concessions.
“The studios are consolidating in a bid to compete with Netflix, the only one who seems ready for Hollywood’s fully digital era,” says Aymar Jean Christian, associate professor of communication studies and director of the Media and Data Equity Lab at Northwestern University.
The streaming model is making the studios both more powerful and cost-conscious,” he says. “This will be a grind. Unless the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) gives in quickly, which seems unlikely, this could be the longest production slowdown in history.”
For their part, studios shifted blame for the strike to actors for walking away from talks and said “historic” pay increases and other benefits had been offered. In a statement, the AMPTP said, “This is the Union’s choice, not ours. … Rather than continuing to negotiate, SAG-AFTRA has put us on a course that will deepen the financial hardship for thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods.”