Stars are coming together to share support for the Screen Actors Guild — American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)’s strike, which officially commenced on July 14 after ongoing negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed. News of the actors’ strike comes a little over two months after the Writers Guild of America’s labor union declared a writers’ strike on May 2.
The actors’ strike had been brewing since SAG-AFTRA headed into negotiations with producers in June, aiming to secure better wages and working conditions as well as protections against artificial intelligence, per CNBC. Due to the actors’ strike, most actors who are part of the union will not be allowed to promote their current projects or work on new ones. Meanwhile, the writers’ strike had loomed for months after the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to reach an agreement on their next three-year contract, largely over disputes of compensation for writers. As a result of the writers’ strike, all members of the WGA vowed not to write or sell new scripts for TV shows or movies until the union votes to end the strike.
Since the writers’ and actors’ strikes began, some of Hollywood’s biggest names have spoken out in support and solidarity. Stars from Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy to Keke Palmer and Matt Damon have all voiced support for the actors’ strike, which SAG-AFTRA union president Fran Drescher said on July 13 is the result of actors being “victimized by a very greedy entity,” adding that she is “shocked by the way that the people we have been in business with are treating us,” she added. Drescher went on to highlight the critical importance of the strike as artificial intelligence ramps up. “. . .We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines and big business, who cares more about Wall Street than you and your family,” she said. “Most Americans don’t have more than $500 in an emergency. This is a very big deal, and it weighed heavy on us. But at some point, you have to say, ‘No, we’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?'”
The actors join a number of stars who have already shown support for the writers’ strike. On June 15, Tina Fey, Sara Bareilles, and Lin-Manuel Miranda stepped out at a rally in New York City’s Times Square to stand in solidarity with the striking writers. Then on June 25, singer-songwriter Muni Long expressed her public support of the strike during the 2023 BET Awards.
Previously, stars like Colin Farrell and Pete Davidson supported the writers’ strike by stopping by WGA picket lines. Meanwhile, Drew Barrymore also showed her support by pulling out of her 2023 MTV Movie & TV Awards hosting gig in solidarity with the striking writers, her rep confirmed to POPSUGAR on May 4.
“I have listened to the writers, and in order to truly respect them, I will pivot from hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards live in solidarity with the strike,” Barrymore said in a statement. “Everything we celebrate and honor about movies and television is born out of their creation. And until a solution is reached, I am choosing to wait.”
Ahead of the writers’ strike, many stars who attended this year’s Met Gala on May 1 spoke to Variety about their thoughts on the writers’ strike, with Brian Tyree Henry saying, “I just hope that everyone is treated equally. I hope they get what they deserve and I hope people listen to them. People strike for a reason.” Amanda Seyfried also spoke to the outlet on the red carpet and said, “I don’t get what the problem is,” adding that the strike is “necessary.” “Everything changed with streaming and everyone should be compensated for their work. It’s f*cking easy.”
Elsewhere, TV creators like “Abbott Elementary” star Quinta Brunson told AP News, “I’m a member of WGA and support WGA, and them getting — we, us — getting what we need.”
Since the writers’ strikes kicked off, many TV shows and movies have been forced to shut down production (i.e., filming and airing new episodes), including “Saturday Night Live,” which canceled an episode that was to be hosted by show alum Davidson. On May 3, “SNL” star Bowen Yang, who’s joined the strike, told The Hollywood Reporter of the comedy sketch show, “I’m really disappointed. We had a few good shows left, I think. We all came back rested and ready to work on Monday.” He added, “Pete was very excited to host, even though he knew there was a big asterisk on the week, and there was a looming possibility it might not happen. I think we were all ready to give it our all for the next three weeks before the season ended.”
Other celebrities who have shared support for the actors’ and writers’ strikes include George Clooney, Brian Cox, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kerry Washington, Jason Sudeikis, America Ferrera, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Mark Ruffalo, Mariska Hargitay, Lisa Ann Walter, Rob Lowe, Cynthia Nixon, Natasha Lyonne, Ayo Edebiri, Ilana Glazer, Zach Cherry, and more. Scroll ahead to see which other stars are supporting the strikes.