Several Hollywood A-listers have displayed solidarity with striking actors by donating huge sums of money to their cause.
The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists represents over 160,000 performers over a number of platforms, and they initiated strike action last month.
The two main issues the actors have is residual payments as well as the emergence of AI that could potentially replace performers.
This is the first time that both actors and writers have been on strike at the same time since the 1960s.
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Actors went on strike in the 1980s and that walkout lasted three months.
Even though actors are generally viewed as extremely wealthy individuals, that wealth is only relevant to a small percentage. There are many performers who rely on acting jobs simply to put food on the table.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said this week that 86% of the union's 160,000 members earn less than $26,500 a year.
George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Dwayne Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Kidman, Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, Hugh Jackman, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have all donated at least $1 million to the cause.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson started the trend with a "seven-figure" donation that was described as a "call to arms" by SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance.
The Writer's Strike
Since 2 May 2023, several movie productions both in film and television have been impacted by the strike of the Writers Guild of America.
The WGA are going up against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). In May of 2020, a Minimum Basic Agreement principle was put in place which assured writers of a guaranteed wage while working on broadcast television shows.
However, this agreement did not stretch to streaming shows, meaning that writers working on these projects were paid significantly less.
The goals that the WGA want to achieve are as follows:
- Increase funding and job security for writers
- Increase the size of writers' rooms
- Limit the use of artificial intelligence in the writing process