A photo of protestors from the Writers Guild of America Strike.

2023 Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild Strike

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Updated Jul 14, 2023 at 06:45PM EDT by Zach.

Added May 06, 2023 at 07:39PM EDT by Autumn Able.

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Overview

The 2023 Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild Strike is a nationwide protest held by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in response to poor compensation for Hollywood workers working in streaming, as well as concerns over AI-generation tools being used to replace them. The strike started on May 2nd, 2023, and is currently ongoing. On July 13th, 2023, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) joined the WGA Strike, a first since 1960. The dual strike will reportedly cause significant delays in the creation and filming of movies and television shows until it is resolved, resulting in what many people are calling a "content drought."

Background

On April 17th, 2023, Twitter[1] account @WGAWest announced that members of the Writers Guild of America voted to authorize a strike by over 97 percent "yes" votes. The tweet gathered over 11,000 likes in two months (seen below).


WRITERS GUILD ON STRIKE Writers Guild of America West @WGAWest WGA members have authorized a strike by 97.85%. Writers are ready for a deal from the studios that allows writers to share in the success of the content they create and build a stable life. #WGAStrong STRIKE AUTHORIZATION VOTE 97.85% YES WGA CONTRACT 2023 4:06 PM. Apr 17, 2023 · 4.9M Views : 3,646 Retweets 1,310 Quotes 11.8K Likes 133 Bookmarks

On May 1st, 2023, Twitter[2] account More Perfect Union posted a video featuring Brittani Nichols, a writer for ABC's Abbot Elementary. Nichols describes the discrepancies in pay after television shows move from network cable to streaming services, which can be as large as $13,500 for re-air on cable to a mere $700 on streaming (seen below).


On May 2nd, comedian and writer Adam Conover posted a thread[3] explaining the WGA's reasoning for going on strike, including various failed negotiations to protect writers' and presenters' pay and studios' failure to address concerns about artificial intelligence encroaching on traditional writing and address (seen below).


The move for the WGA to strike also comes on the heels of news that Hollywood studio executives gathered record-breaking earnings in 2021, despite taking shows off streaming services and firing thousands of employees to cut costs.[4] According to a Bloomberg[4] article from May 7th, 2023, several high-level executives made tens of millions in the early 2020s, with some in the hundreds of millions (excerpt seen below).

Warner Bros. Chief David Zaslav made almost $250 million in 2021. Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos both made more than $50 million last year. In 2021, Disney’s Bob Iger and Bob Chapek made a combined $78 million.

Developments

On July 11th, 2023, the Twitter account @DiscussingFilm posted a tweet[5] that read, "The studios and streamers reportedly have no intentions of negotiating with the Writer's Guild for several more months. 'The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,' a studio executive tells Deadline."

The tweet was made in reference to a Deadline[6] article about studios stalling talks indefinitely, gathering over 40,000 likes in three days (seen below, left). @CultureCrave[7] posted a similar tweet on July 11th, adding that studio executives called the move a "cruel but necessary evil" (seen below, right).


DiscussingFilm @DiscussingFilm 4 The studios and streamers reportedly have no intentions of negotiating with the Writer's Guild for several more months. "The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive tells Deadline. WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA WE 11:15 PM Jul 11, 2023 · 13.7M Views 7,467 Retweets 11.9K Quotes 43K Likes 3,093 Bookmarks Culture Crave @CultureCrave The studios and streamers' plan is to reportedly 'break the WGA' "The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses" (via @Deadline) WALT DISNEY NETFLIX 11:25 PM Jul 11, 2023 21.1M Views amazon WB WARNER BROS. 5,337 Retweets 7,487 Quotes 30.6K Likes 2,450 Bookmarks :

Screen Actors Guild Joins Strike

On July 13th, 2023, Twitter[8] account @weeklycut posted a video showing director Christopher Nolan announcing that the cast of Oppenheimer left the U.K. premiere of the movie as part of the Screen Actors Guild strike that begins on July 14th, 2023 (seen below). The post gathered over 8,000 likes in a day.


The Screen Actor Guild's (SAG) move to join the Writers Strike marks the first time both unions have struck since 1960 when the actors union was headed by Ronald Reagen.[9]

AI Face Scan Controversy

The move by the SAG to join the Writers' Strike came after studios proposed a plan to scan the faces of background actors to then use indefinitely. @DiscussingFilms posted a tweet on July 13th, 2023, that read, "The studio’s A.I. proposal to SAG-AFTRA included scanning a background actor’s likeness for one day’s worth of pay and using their likeness forever in any form without any pay or consent," gathering over 47,000 likes in a day.[10] Also on July 13th, Twitter[11] account @ThereCount posted a clip of SAG-AFTRA Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland revealing the AI proposal (seen below).


Online Reactions

On April 27th, 2023, Twitter[14] user @BenjaminCrew1 posted a thread about how the 2007 WGA strike affected the quality of the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. The initial tweet gathered over 24,000 likes in two months (seen below).


On July 13th, 2023, Twitter[12] user @CatieOsaurus posted a tweet that read, "Listen I am a literal nobody regarding the SAG/WGA strike but I can tell you that a Netflix producer who ghosted me a year and a half ago slid into my DMs this morning wondering about picking the project we'd discussed back up and it smells a lot like nervous desperation to me." The tweet gathered over 50,000 likes in a day (seen below, left).

On July 14th, 2023, Twitter[13] user @tredlocity posted a tweet about South Park's "Canada on Strike" episode, which mocked the 2007 WGA Strike. The tweet gathered over 25,000 likes in a day (seen below, right).


Catieosaurus @CatieOsaurus Listen I am a literal nobody regarding the SAG/WGA strike but I can tell you that a Netflix producer who ghosted me a year and a half ago slid into my DMs this morning wondering about picking the project we'd discussed back up and it smells a lot like nervous desperation to me. 3:16 PM Jul 13, 2023 · 2M Views 4,981 Retweets 60 Quotes 57.2K Likes 909 Bookmarks 8. Tredlocity @tredlocity. 23h There are South Park fans who were too young to realize that the "Canada On Strike" episode was literally Parker and Stone, who were very rich at that point, s------- on the WGA and the 2007 writers' strike. 2,116 1.5M 90 Tredlocity @tredlocity 25.7K The famous "I'm not your buddy, guy!" joke was actually Parker and Stone saying "just because we're also writers doesn't mean we're on their side." 2:27 PM Jul 13, 2023 · 161.8K Views 113 Retweets 4 Quotes 5,450 Likes 12 Bookmarks

Search Interest

External References

[1] Twitter – WGAWest

[2] Twitter – MorePerfectUS

[3] Twitter – adamconover

[4]  Bloomberg – Hollywood Executives

[5] Twitter – DiscussingFilm

[6] Deadline – Writers Strike Hollywood Studios

[7] Twitter – CultureCrave

[8] Twitter – weeklycut

[9] Twitter – Massawyrm

[10] Twitter – DiscussingFilm

[11] Twitter – therecount

[12] Twitter – CatieOsaurus

[13] Twitter – tredlocity

[14] Twitter – BenjaminCrew1

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