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SAG strike news: Universal Studios accused of pruning trees to remove shade for picketing actors and writers

Los Angeles picketers are scattered between several studio lots

Peony Hirwani,Inga Parkel,Tom Murray
Wednesday 19 July 2023 14:17 BST
‘No contracts, no peace’: Actors stage demonstration in New York

Universal Studios has been accused of trimming the trees that lined its studio lot and provided shade for striking actors and writers.

On Monday (17 July), following the first weekend of the historic Hollywood shutdown, comic Chris Stephens tweeted a photo showing the bare trees.

“Quick shoutout to the good people at @UniversalPics for trimming the trees that gave our picket line shade right before a 90+ degree week,” Stephens wrote.

SAG-AFTRA negotiators unanimously recommended a strike after talks with the AMPTP broke down last week.

Additionally, the Writers Guild of America has been on strike since early May. Both groups demand increases in base pay and residuals in the streaming TV era, plus assurances that their work will not be replaced by AI.

Fran Drescher, former star of The Nanny and SAG president, said studios’ responses to the actors’ concerns had been “insulting and disrespectful”.

In light of the historic double strike, several actors and writers have shared personal horror stories of Hollywood studio greed.

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger condemned the threatened strike action as “very disruptive” at the “worst time” as well as calling the expectations of writers and actors “not realistic”.


Margot Robbie says she is ‘absolutely’ prepared to join actors’ strike

Margot Robbie says she is 'absolutely' prepared to join actors' strike
Inga Parkel17 July 2023 19:30

Who has been on the picket line?

Among the stars seen holding banners have been Thelma & Louise actor Susan Sarandon and Jason Sudeikis, star and creator of comedy Ted Lasso.

Allison Janney, Timothy Olyphant, Josh Gad, Ben Schwartz, Sean Astin, Charlie Barnett, Joey King, Chloe Fineman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Patton Oswalt, Marg Helgenberger, Jake McDorman, Constance Zimmer and Michelle Hurd have also all been spotted showing solidarity in LA and New York.

Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur told Deadline: “Now a thousand very attractive people have shown up and joined the lines, it’s an enormous amount of wind in our sails.”

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 20:00

Devon Sawa claims he wasn’t ‘paid a cent’ for Final Destination 5 cameo in deleted tweet

Devon Sawa has joined the throng of actors sharing horror stories from the industry amid the SAG-AFTRA union strike, which has ground Hollywood to a halt.

Final Destination star Sawa, 44, reportedly took to Twitter on Friday (14 July) to allege that he was never paid for his cameo in Final Destination 5 (2011).

Sawa’s character Alex Browning – the lead in the original 2000 Final Destination film – briefly makes an appearance in the franchise’s fifth instalment using footage from the first film.

Read more:

Devon Sawa (Getty Images)

‘Final Destination’ lead also claimed he wasn’t told he was in the movie despite being invited to the premiere

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 20:30

Kevin Bacon joins New York City picketers in fight for basic wages

On Monday (17 July), actor Kevin Bacon joined picket lines in New York City to protest against streamers and studios.

Speaking to AP Entertainment about who he’s fighting for, the Footloose star, 65, pointed to AI as a “huge issue” and added that “all of these things”, including basic wage, “are things that I personally can negotiate for, but I’m here for the working class, middle class part of our union, who needs these basic provisions in their basic contract”.

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 20:45

Matilda child star and John Cusack share horror stories on Hollywood studio greed in support of SAG strike

In light of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists’ (SAG-AFTRA) historic move to join its fellow union, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), in striking against studios and streamers, actors and writers have shared horror stories that highlight the very corporate greed that the combined unions’ are fighting against.

Read more:

Mara Wilson and John Cusack (Getty Images)

Actors’ union and screenwriters’ union have banded together in the fight for fair wages and higher streaming residuals

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 21:30

Mandy Moore shares photos from front lines of strike

Mandy Moore has joined her “fellow SAG-AFTRA and WGA members” to “demand a fair contract”.

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 21:45

Kevin Bacon joins ‘working class’ actors protesting against Hollywood studios

Kevin Bacon joined SAG-AFTRA members protesting in front of Paramount Studios’ New York headquarters on Monday (17 July).

Bacon, 65, is among the latest A-listers to voice their support for the actors’ union strike, which was initiated last Friday (14 July) over fair wages and other concerns.

Read more:

Kevin Bacon (R) and SAG-AFTRA members and supporters protest as the SAG-AFTRA Actors Union Strike continues in front of Paramount Studios at 1515 Broadway on July 17, 2023 in New York City. (Getty Images)

‘I think AI is a huge issue,’ A-lister said from SAG-AFTRA picket line in New York

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 22:00

Haunted Mansion premiere goes ahead... with no stars

The Disney movie’s world premiere on Saturday (15 July), starring Tiffany Haddish and Jamie Lee Curtis, is the first major Hollywood event to go ahead without any actors present.

“I feel very ambivalent about it, but at the same time, I’m just so proud of this cast and I’m so, so proud of Katie Dippold who wrote the script, and so much of why I did this was to honour her words and to honour their work,” director Justin Simien told The Hollywood Reporter on the carpet.

“If they can’t be here to speak for it, I felt like I had to be here to speak for it. It’s sad that they’re not here, at the same time, I totally support the reason why they’re not here. And I’m happy to be the one to ring the bell in their stead.”

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 22:30

Ronald Reagan led actors in Hollywood’s first double strike 63 years ago

While the ongoing double strike, which has effectively shut down Hollywood, is a historic event, it’s not the first of its kind.

In 1960, the industry experienced its first joint walkout between the actors’ guild (SAG-AFTRA) and the screenwriters union (Writers Guild of America).

The strike was led by Ronald Reagan, who was the SAG president at the time, years before his US presidency.

The WGA first went on strike, beginning on 16 January 1960, before SAG-AFTRA began their own strike on 7 March 1960. While the latter ended picketing on 18 April 1960, the former strike lasted until 12 June 1960.

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 23:00

Will the actors’ strike affect Broadway?

While the total membership comprises more than 160,000 people, only the 65,000 performers in TV and film productions are currently participating in the strike.

Read more:

Hollywood Strikes (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Screen Actors Guild announced industrial action to coincide with writers’ strike

Inga Parkel17 July 2023 23:30

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