Writers Guild of America goes on strike, celebs react

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The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has officially gone on strike for the first time in 15 years, as writers in Hollywood look for fair compensation and conditions in an ever-changing industry, according to an official guild announcement.

In a message sent to their members on Monday evening that Deadline obtained, the guild leadership said, “Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal — and though your strike vote gave us the leverage to make some gains — the studios’ responses to our proposals have been wholly insufficient, given the existential crisis writers are facing.”

A major moment in Hollywood, the latest WGA strike comes weeks after 98% of the guild voted in favor of this exact outcome should the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) not come to an agreement, the Los Angeles Times reported.

With the dawn of the streaming era, the landscape of the TV & Film industry shifted, specifically affecting writers (who have consistently been paid on a per-episode basis), according to USA Today. Before, most shows had at least 22 episodes per season and streaming series around eight to 13. Additionally, residuals and royalties — an integral source of income for TV and film writers — have also shifted as streaming residuals remain significantly less than traditional broadcast.

Now, on the heels of failed contract negotiations between the union and AMPTP, the guild officially announced a strike. The WGA released a specific set of strike rules last Tuesday, Variety reported, detailing that should the strike go into effect, it would bar writers from writing, pitching and even negotiating work.

“We must now exert the maximum leverage possible to get a fair contract by withholding our labor … members of the Negotiating Committee, Board, and Council will be out with you on the picket lines,” Deadline reported.

Coincidentally, the strike commenced on the day after fashion’s biggest night: The Met Gala. Each year, some of the biggest names in culture, film and television attend the fundraiser for The Costume Institute. Last night, some spoke directly in support of the strike.

“I just hope that everyone is treated equally,” Academy Award nominee Brian Tyree Henry told Variety. I hope they get what they deserve and I hope that people listen to them. People strike for a reason.”

Creator and star of ABC’s hit sitcom “Abbott Elementary” Quinta Brunson told The Associated Press, “I’m a member of WGA and support WGA, and …us getting what we need.” Brunson also shared an official graphic of the WGA’s strike details on her Instagram stories.

This latest is the first since the 2007–08 writer’s strike, which lasted 100 days and significantly impacted production. More information on the strike can be found at the WGA site.

Source: Thegrio Staff

Image: WGA Instagram