Oscar winner George Clooney has joined the number of artists calling for change as entertainers hit the picket lines in their first strike against film and TV studios since 1980.
“This is an inflection point in our industry,” Clooney told CNN in a statement on Friday July 14. “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.”
Clooney’s remarks come as members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) got signs to demonstrate outside film and TV studios on two coasts, joining entertainment writers who have been doing precisely that for over two months.
The SAG-AFTRA strike was officially announced on Thursday July 13.
“Ted Lasso” star (and Emmy nominee) Jason Sudeikis was spotted in New York, where he told CNN to “listen” to the voices of strikers chanting things like, “Hey hey, ho ho corporate greed’s got to go” and “What do we want? Contracts. When do we want ‘em? Now!”
“That says it all,” he remarked.
When Sudeikis was asked about the longevity of the strike, Sudeikis answered, “As long as it takes”
Some actors including Constance Zimmer, Lisa Edelstein, and SAG AFTRA president Fran Drescher were also spotted on picket lines.
Meanwhile, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Chief mediator for Hang AFTRA, revealed to the media that the entertainers’ strike isn’t a ploy for big name stars to make more money.
“This is a fight for basic fairness. This is fight on behalf of working people. This is not a fight on behalf of huge celebrities,” Crabtree-Ireland said.
Representing a union with 160,000 members, he added that the “vast majority are fighting to pay rent, mortgage, feed their family. This is a working person’s fight.”
The entertainers join the in excess of 11,000 members of the WGA who have been on strike against similar studios and web-based features since May 2.
That union is striking over a significant number of similar issues as SAG AFTRA – fair compensation, particularly with respect to residuals in the services of streaming, and forward-thinking protection against the utilization of computer based intelligence.
The writers’ strike had already halted production on most films and television shows. The traditional start of the fall television season and the release of several movies planned for next year are now at risk, with fall film festivals unlikely and big-budget productions like “Deadpool 3” grinding to a halt.