How to support the actors’ and writers’ strike

With thousands out of work, here are ways you can support Hollywood’s most financially vulnerable

Inga Parkel
Thursday 20 July 2023 08:05 BST
Hollywood in historic shutdown as actors union joins writers strike

While hundreds of thousands of actors and screenwriters are currently out of work amid the Hollywood shutdown, those outside of the industry may be wondering if there’s anything they can do to help.

Unions representing actors (Screen Actors Guild of America) and writers (Writers Guild of America) are on strike after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down.

Their demands include an increase in base pay and streaming residuals, plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI).

Although there isn’t a magic wand to immediately fix the key issues SAG-AFTRA and the WGA are facing, there are some things you can do to support them in their fight for a fair deal.

Should you cancel your streaming subscriptions?

The first thought that might come to mind is to cancel your streaming service subscriptions. However, it would actually be “more supportive if you did the exact opposite”, actor Dave Wallace tweeted.

“Neither the Writers’ Guild nor SAG-AFTRA is calling for a consumer boycott right now,” WGA board member Adam Conover said.

So, instead, the best way you can lend your support is by “posting on social media. Boost our message, say you stand with us”.

“Follow our strike rules,” Conover added. “Do not do the work of a striking writer or actor. That’s called scabbing.”

Can I still go to the cinema?

Neil Gaiman answered this question on his Tumblr after someone asked if it would be “crossing the picket line” to see Barbie in cinemas.

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“Continuing to see your movies, watch your shows, stream your favourites is one of the best ways to support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA right now,” the Good Omens author wrote. “This content has been made, and it makes money. It helps immensely to show the studios the value of the work that writers and actors do.”

Gaiman explained how not going “hurts writers and actors”, saying: “Studios can say, ‘Well, actually, Barbie only made $X dollars, Oppenheimer made $Y dollars, only so-many thousands of people watched Good Omens 2, obviously there isn’t enough money to go around.’

“See the stuff you want to see with reckless abandon,” he encouraged.

Can I join the picket line?

You can certainly show your physical support by joining the front lines of the ongoing pickets.

Los Angeles remains the only city with a regular Monday through Friday strike schedule in front of nine different studio lots: Warner Bros, Universal Studios, Sunset Gower, Sony, Paramount, Netflix, Fox, Disney and Amazon.

For LA addresses and times, as well as information for other locations, visit the SAG-AFTRA website.

Is there a fund I can donate to?

If you’re eager to share your support monetarily, you can donate to the Entertainment Community Fund, which provides aid to crew members who are out of work.

How long is the strike expected to last?

There’s no definitive answer to when the actors’ strike might end, but union members preparing for “the long haul”, according to SAG president and The Nanny star Fran Drescher.

“Right now, we discussed what it would cost if it went for six months, so we’re looking for the long haul,” Drescher said at a press conference on Thursday (13 July), as SAG-AFTRA approved the strike.

“The gravity of a commitment like this is not lost on any of us. It’s major. But we also see that we have no future and no livelihood unless we take this action, unfortunately.”

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