George Clooney and Jessica Chastain lead A-listers backing historic Hollywood actors strike

SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher announced the union’s approval for actors to join writers’ strike in historic move that hasn’t happened in over 60 years

Inga Parkel
Friday 14 July 2023 15:46 BST
Oppenheimer actors walk out of UK premiere as Hollywood stars join writer strike

Several high-profile celebrities have shown their support for SAG-AFTRA’s newly-announced strike that will effectively shut down Hollywood.

Follow along here for real-time updates on Sag-aftra’s historic strike.

On Thursday (13 July), SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee, which represents 160,000 TV and film actors, made the official decision to go on strike alongside the Writers Guild of America (WGA), who have been on the picket line since May.

“Union members should withhold their labour until a fair contract can be achieved,” SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a press conference. “They have left us with no alternative.”

The strike will begin at midnight tonight, with protests beginning Friday (14 July) morning.

It’s been over 60 years since actors and screenwriters have simultaneously picketed film and TV studios. The decision came hours after contract negotiations with companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Warner Bros, failed to pass before the Wednesday (12 July) midnight deadline.

The acting union’s demands are similar to those of its counterpart, the WGA. Among the former’s chief demands include increased wages, higher streaming residuals and improved working conditions.

Following the announcement, numerous A-list stars publicly spoke out as they joined the union strike.

Releasing a statement to the press, George Clooney became one of Hollywood’s biggest names to voice his support for the strike.

“This is an inflextion point in our industry,” the two-time Oscar winner said. “Actors and writers in large numbers have lost their ability to make a living. For our industry to survive that has to change. For actors, that journey starts now.”

Jessica Chastain expressed her support on Twitter, writing: “The AMPTP refused to make a fair deal on television, theatrical and streaming work. We are not afraid of a fight and we will not back down. My union, SAG/AFTRA is now on strike.”

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk reshared a video of SAG president Fran Drescher’s “powerful statement” shaming “disgusting” studios “pleading poverty” when they “give $100 millions to their CEOs”.

“Holy Cow. Go Fran Go! This was a powerful statement,” Odenkirk wrote. “I stand with Fran and everyone in SAG and WGA in this extended moment...onwards.”

Keke Palmer sent “love to all my fellow actors and writers”. “Praying that this is resolved swiftly and we all come out feeling empowered! Families have to be fed but people have to and deserve [to] be respected for their work as well,” the Nope star commented.

John Cusack railed against “legendary” Hollywood greed in an anecdote relating to the hit 1989 teen romcom Say Anything, in which his character wooed his love interest by holding a boombox above his head at her bedroom window.

“Well, everything’s f***ed,” Issa Rae declared in a video posted to her Instagram Story, with the overlayed text: “WGA and SAG [solidarity emoji]” and “AMPTP [middle finger emoji].”

“It looks like it’s time to take down the masks and pick up the signs,” reads a photo posted to Instagram by Jamie Lee Curtis, tagging SAG-AFTRA in the caption.

“We will win this!” Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon tweeted in encouragement. “I am proud to be standing tall with the @WGAWest and @WGAEast as actors and writers together demand a fair share of the record-breaking profits the studios have been reaping from our labour for far too long.”

Grey’s Anatomy star Sara Ramirez changed their Instagram profile picture to the Sag-aftra’s “on strike” logo.

Sara Ramirez Instagram (Sara Ramirez Instagram )

SAG board member, Community’s Yvette Nicole Brown, shared a selfie on Instagram with the caption: “In preparation we all got together last week to create our signs. I was on sticks! When you’re out there without a splinter thanks to the perfectly placed duct tape, think of ya girl!”

Shortly before the official strike announcement, Oppenheimer’s cast walked away from the film’s London premiere to “write their picket signs” in preparation for the imminent strike.

During red-carpet interviews with press, before the movie’s screening, Matt Damon had confirmed to Variety that “once the strike is officially called”, he and the cast – Emily Blunt, Ramy Malek, Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh – were “going to walk obviously in solidarity”.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in