News & Opinion | Entertainment | TV & Film
Yesterday, the WGA strike passed its 100-day mark. As the concurrent WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue, high-profile entertainers are already beginning to feel the impact of this historic industry stoppage.
This week “Pose” actor, fashion icon, and Emmy, Grammy, & Tony winner Billy Porter revealed in an interview that he’s selling his house amidst the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes in Hollywood.
On May 2, 2023, after six weeks of failed labor contract negotiations, The Writers Guild of America, voted to go on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Almost 2 months later, the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which represents 160,000 Hollywood actors, followed suit with their respective strike.
The simultaneous strikes resulting from issues such as unfair pay and concerns behind the ethics of artificial intelligence have paused the production of scripted television shows and films. Most notably, both unions haven’t been on strike at the same time since 1960 marking a historic moment in the entertainment industry.
(Source: Billy Porter)
“I have to sell my house…Yeah! Because we’re on strike…And I don’t know when we’re gonna go back. The life of an artist, until you make f*ck-you money which I haven’t made yet is still cheque to cheque. So to the person who said we’re going to starve them out until they have to sell their apartments…you’ve already starved me out," said Billy Porter
Porter is of course referencing comments made by an anonymous but infamous Hollywood executive who predicted that most writers will be running out of money five months into the strike. It is safe to assume this similar strategy also applies to the union actors on strike as well.
Anonymous Studio Executive said, “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses."
(Source: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shuttershock)
Porter goes on to mention another industry executive, Disney CEO Bob Iger, who stated in an interview that the writers and actors unions going on strike in Hollywood are not being “realistic” with their expectations.
“To hear Bob Iger say that our demands for a living wage are unrealistic? While he makes $78,000 a day?...I don’t have words for it, but f*ck you. That’s not useful, so I’ve kept my mouth shut. I haven’t engaged because I’m so enraged…but when I go back [to the U.S] I will join the picket lines," said Porter.
Union actors are demanding a livable wage and a restructuring of residuals, which have drastically declined with the advent of the streaming industry. Since the strike a multitude of entertainers have now spoken up about the unfair compensation and restrictive contracts they endured.
“In the late Fifties, early Sixties, when they structured a way for artists to be compensated properly through residual payments…then streaming came and there’s no contract for it…and they don’t have to be transparent with the numbers…the business has evolved…so the contract has to evolve," said Porter.
(Source: Nellson Barnard/Karwai Tang/ Getty Images)
As the WGA strike continues after 100 days (coincidentally the same amount of time the ‘07 - ‘08 strike lasted) and the SAG-AFTRA enters its 1st month, will there be an end in the near future? Will these conglomerate studios respect the demands the hardworking creatives are fighting for? How long will Hollywood be at a stalemate?
Only time will tell but to the writers and actors please stay strong!