Hollywood Paralysed As American Actors Vote To Join Writers On Historic Strike

Image of the Hollywood sign.

Image of the Hollywood sign. Credit: Yybua/Shutterstock.com

Hollywood is in turmoil and totally paralysed this Thursday, July 13, after members of the US acting guild voted in favour of industrial action.

Today’s decision will see American actors down tools from midnight tonight, Los Angeles time. The actors’ union officially called the strike after failing to reach an agreement with the studios on the negotiation deadline, reported Sky News.

As a result, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who have already been on strike since May 2, will be joined on the picket lines by 160,000 from the Screen Actors Guild – the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), for the first time in 63 years.

Once the extended deadline expired it was inevitable

After a two-week extension to the original deadline, another was set for the early hours of July 12, at which point, no agreement had been reached. There were chaotic scenes outside the Netflix offices in Hollywood after the announcement, where writers were heard chanting ‘Pay Your Actors!’.

‘A strike is an instrument of last resort’, commented Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the SAG-AFTRA executive director said at a press conference immediately after announcing the action, accompanied by President Fran Drescher.

According to Drescher, last Wednesday evening they had: ‘negotiated in good faith and were eager to reach a deal that sufficiently addressed performer needs, but the AMPTP’s responses to the union’s most important proposals have been insulting and disrespectful of our massive contributions to this industry’.

He continued: ‘The companies have refused to meaningfully engage on some topics and on others completely stonewalled us. Until they do negotiate in good faith, we cannot begin to reach a deal’, according to deadline.com.

‘The studios and streamers have implemented massive unilateral changes in our industry’s business model, while at the same time insisting on keeping our contracts frozen in amber. That’s not how you treat a valued, respected partner and essential contributor’, explained Crabtree-Ireland.

He added: ‘Their refusal to meaningfully engage with our key proposals and the fundamental disrespect shown to our members is what has brought us to this point. The studios and streamers have underestimated our members’ resolve, as they are about to fully discover’.

The AMPTP said it was ‘deeply disappointed’

In response to the imminent strikes, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) said last night: ‘We are deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to walk away from negotiations. This is the Union’s choice, not ours’.

It continued: ‘In doing so, it has dismissed our offer of historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more’.

‘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’, it concluded.

Meanwhile, the UK premiere of Christopher Nolan’s historical epic Oppenheimer in London was hit when its main stars, Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr, Sir Kenneth Branagh and Rami Malek all walked out in solidarity with the strike.

The start time of the red carpet appearance at Leicester Square’s Odeon Luxe had been moved forward by one hour in anticipation of the industrial action going ahead, according to thesun.co.uk. Cillian commented: ‘I stand by my colleagues, that’s all I can say to you’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

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