The union of the actors of the American entertainment industry, SAG-AFTRA, has gone on strike since July 14, 2023. It has joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA), which went on strike on May 2, 2023. This is the first time in 63 years that two of Hollywood’s labor unions are striking at the same time.

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are collectively being called the ‘Hollywood double strike’. Both of the ongoing strikes are against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). This is the largest interruption in the production of American television shows and films since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Actress Christine Roberts Picketing In Front Of Bronson Studios
Actress Christine Roberts picketing in front of Bronson Studios

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Why Is SAG-AFTRA On Strike

The SAG-AFTRA union represents nearly 160,000 screen actors, television and radio artists worldwide. This is the first time since 1980 that the actors have gone on a strike. The SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors approved of the strike, following which the actors joined the screen writers on the picket lines.

If the WGA going on strike slowed down the industry, the SAG-AFTRA strike has almost brough it to a complete halt. The actors’ union cited several issues in negotiations with the studios, including “economic fairness, residuals, regulating the use of artificial intelligence and alleviating the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-taping”.

Mandy Moore as a part of the SAG-AFTRA strike
Mandy Moore as a part of the SAG-AFTRA strike

A big reason behind this strike is that the AMPTP proposed what they called “a groundbreaking AI proposal”. Chief negotiator Crabtree-Ireland addressed this proposal,

This ‘groundbreaking’ AI proposal that they gave us yesterday, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get one day’s pay, and their companies should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity on any project they want, with no consent and no compensation.

The recent downward trend of the network television and subsequent rise in streaming services has increased the dependence of the actors’ livelihood on residual payments. In addition to this, actors have expressed their concerns about the usage of artificial intelligence to replace the screenwriters.

Read More: This is Us Star Mandy Moore Got 81 Cents in Residual Checks

Actors Who Have Stood Up in Protest

Oppenheimer cast at the London premiere
Oppenheimer cast at the London premiere

The Oppenheimer cast that comprises of some of the biggest names in the industry such as Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and Matt Damon walked out of the London premiere of the movie on July 13 ahead of the announcement of the strike by SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher.

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Many famous actors such as Mandy Moore, Michelle Monaghan, and Ben Schwartz were seen in picket lines in front of Disney’s offices. Moore recently claimed that she was sent checks of sums of money as less as “a penny to 81 cents” as residual payment for the smash-hit show This is Us.

The strike also includes actors not showing up at press conferences, film premieres, and other events. The Dune 2 movie panel cancelled its appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con that is going to be held from July 20.

Source: Verge

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