In Hollywood, the studios and the screenwriters’ union resume dialogue after a three-month strike

The robot dog G4t0 walks among striking actors and screenwriters, outside Universal Studios in Burbank, California, on August 4, 2023.

A clearing up in the social conflict that is paralyzing Hollywood? For the first time in three months, representatives of the screenwriters’ union and delegates from the studios met on Friday August 4 in Los Angeles (California).

Nothing filtered from the meeting. According to the union, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), the resumption of contacts was made at the initiative of the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP); it is a group that represents the major studios and streaming platforms – Disney, Warner Bros, NBC-Universal, Sony, Netflix, Amazon and Apple.

The parties had not met since the start of the writers’ strike on May 2. The actors joined the movement on July 14, a configuration that had not occurred since 1960. Their union, SAG-Aftra, however, was not a party to Friday’s meeting. According to Los Angeles Timesthe industry believes that the actors are still too radical in their claims.

Read also: Why are Hollywood workers on strike? Understand in three minutes

The strike may well drag on, no reconciliation has been observed in the positions of each other. As the screenwriters union met with industry delegates, several hundred protesters blocked the approaches to Universal Studios in Burbank, north of Los Angeles.

“This illustrates the determination of our members to obtain a contract that is fair, equitable and that respects us”, commented actors union negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, promising to clear the street. The strikers are demanding better compensation for streaming revenue, and protection against the use of artificial intelligence (AI), fearing that their image will be used without their knowledge. AI also risks eliminating thousands of jobs by allowing the replacement of extras by animations.

Celebrities on the picket lines

“Progress has been made, advanced the actor Billy Crystal, who was, him, in front of the studios Paramount. We must remain optimistic. All of this is important. The world is changing and (the studios) must change with us. »

American actor Sean Penn joins members of the Writers Union and Actors Union during a march outside the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, August 1, 2023.

Since July 14, celebrities have been joining the pickets every day in front of the studios, in Hollywood, but also in New York, in front of NBC-Universal or Amazon. In a few weeks, the sidewalks saw Bradley Cooper, Sarah Silverman, Anna Kendrick, Rosanna Arquette, Lupita Nyong’o, Colin Farrell… On July 28, Jane Fonda protested in front of the Netflix studios; four days later, ahead of Disney. Stars or strangers, the strikers are dressed in T-shirts in the colors of their union: SAG-Aftra, which represents 160,000 film, television and radio actors; WGA, 11,000 strong.

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