Soon after the SAG-AFTRA leadership declared the union was going on strike, president Courtney B Vance and executive director Cyd Wilson sent out a letter to the union’s highest-earning actors.
In the letter, Wilson and Vance highlighted the financial difficulty many people would face due to work stoppage during the strike.
“We rely on donations and grants to provide services – we have been very fortunate that we raised enough money to be able to cover all of our programs,” Wilson told Variety.
“But when we hit a crisis like this and we’re going to spend millions and millions of dollars in financial assistance, this is when we need our high profile talent who can afford it, who are in a situation to help others.”
Wilson revealed that shortly after she and Vance sent out the letter, Johnson responded saying he wanted to help.
“It was a love fest. It’s like, ‘Man, you’re stepping up in a way that is allowing others to know the dire necessity of it’,” Vance said. “This is him saying, ‘In such a time as this, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere, whatever you need me to do.’ And that sends a huge message to other folks to do the same thing.”
The exact amount of Johnson’s donation hasn’t been revealed, however, a representative told HuffPost that the sum is a “seven-figure” amount.
Wilson also told Variety that Johnson’s donation will likely help 7,000 to 10,000 members through the union’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program.
“It is a call to arms for all of us to know that we just have to step up however you can,” Vance said. “Dwayne is letting everyone know, ‘I’m here. What are you going to do?’”
The Independent has contacted Johnson’s representatives for comment.
This month marked a historic shutdown for Hollywood as the actors’ guild members joined writers striking for a fairer deal. SAG-AFTRA’s strike comprising 150,000 television and movie actors began at midnight on 13 July.
Meanwhile, members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have been on strike since May.
This is the first time since 1960 that both actors and writers have picketed film and television production companies.
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