Hollywood Actors Begin Strike Today, Oppenheimer Stars Leave Premiere; First Strike Since 1980
Writers are already on strike and now actors are joining them.
[UPDATE 2] During a press conference, SAG-AFTRA officially announced that union members are now on strike. The union's National Board took a strike vote today, July 13, and the resolution passed. It was a unanimous vote.
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland discussed the latest developments during a press conference, and you can watch it below.
"The eyes of the world, and particularly the eyes of labor, are upon us. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity," Drescher said.
A SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical/Streaming Strike has been ordered effective July 14, at 12:01 a.m. Additional details are forthcoming. The Strike Order can be found here: https://t.co/NFBM7lLGTs pic.twitter.com/SGjmR0BPeu— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) July 13, 2023
The organization representing film and TV studios, AMPTP, released a statement in response to the strike, saying SAG's decision will "lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry."
"AMPTP member companies entered the negotiations with SAG-AFTRA with the goal of forging a new, mutually beneficial contract. The AMPTP presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors' digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members," AMPTP said in a statement obtained by Deadline. "A strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life."
[UPDATE] Cast for the movie Oppenheimer, including Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, and others, left the London premiere of Oppenheimer to start picketing. Earlier in the day, they appeared on the red carpet for regular press interviews. But with the strike call imminent, they left the scene ahead of the premiere.
The original story follows below.
Hollywood writers have been on strike since May, and now actors are preparing to strike as well. The biggest actor's union in Hollywood, SAG-AFTRA, has confirmed plans to begin striking as soon as today, July 13. The previous contract expired at 11:59 PM on July 12.
This will be the first strike by actors for film and TV since 1980. It's also the first time since 1960 that both writers and actors are striking at the same time, according to Deadline.
SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the movie and TV studios, had been conducting negotiations late into the night on July 12. However, negotiations broke down and actors are now expected to go on strike. The SAG-AFTRA board will hold a meeting today, July 13, to vote on a strike.
Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, said in a statement that the actors' union negotiated "in good faith" and wanted to reach a deal, but the AMPTP only put forth "insulting and disrespectful" counters.
"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. We have no choice but to move forward in unity, and on behalf of our membership, with a strike recommendation to our National Board," Drescher said.
For its part, the AMPTP, which negotiates on behalf of Apple, Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, WB Discovery, Amazon, and NBC Universal, said it is "deeply disappointed" in this result.
SAG-AFTRA is asking for "economic fairness, residuals, regulating the use of artificial intelligence, and alleviating the burdens of the industry-wide shift to self-taping." AMPTP said it offered "historic" pay and residual increases, higher caps on pension and health care contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a "groundbreaking" proposal related to AI and actors' digital likenesses.
SAG-AFTRA will conduct a press conference today, July 13, at 12 PM PT to discuss the results of its vote and more. Keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood, said at the Sun Valley Conference this week that the strikes by writers and actors are "very disturbing."
"I understand any labor organization's desire to work on behalf of its members to get the most compensation and be compensated fairly based on the value that they deliver. There's a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive," he said, as reported by Variety.
Should the actors go on strike, all films and scripted TV shows featuring SAG-AFTRA members will shut down in the US and around the world. Soap opera productions are covered under a separate agreement and are not affected.
As for the writers' strike, it's now stretching beyond 70 days with no end in sight.
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