Hollywood History Is Made As The SAG-AFTRA Strike Begins

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The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Radio And Television Artists, SAG-AFTRA, is joining the Writers Guild of America (WGA) on strike. SAG-AFTRA notably represents the most acclaimed actors in film and television. Many actors and directors have communicated support and even joined picket lines for the WGA strike, which began in May. After an anonymous studio executive told Deadline that the strike would drag on until “writers start losing their apartments” and that they would not cater to any of their demands, SAG-AFTRA is stepping up to apply pressure to the situation.

The WGA Strike began in May 2023, marking the first writers strike since 2008. Now that SAG-AFTRA is joining them, the now joint strike marks the first of its kind since 1960. The WGA strike was born after years of low wages amid the changing nature of streaming services. Additionally, writers are seeking to combat the threat of Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing writers and editors in the writers room. After several major studios, notably Netflix, Disney, and Warner Bros., failed to reach a fair contract with the writers for their respective platforms, the union decided a nationwide strike was the only option.

Why SAG-AFTRA Is Now Striking

The era of streaming services for television and film has not only changed the viewing experience for consumers, but the pay for actors, writers, directors, and crew members. SAG-AFTRA supports all of the WGA’s demands, and have several of their own. Actor turned U.S. President Ronald Reagan led the first SAG-AFTRA strike in 1960.

Among the SAG-AFTRA demands are increased minimum pay rates, increased streaming residuals to match the rising inflation costs, and improved working conditions. Previously, many could rely on royalty payments from reruns. For streamers, this is no longer the case.

Disney CEO Bob Iger was recently quoted as saying that the WGA’s demands were “not realistic.” A Variety report revealed that Iger recently renewed his contract through 2026, and will make millions more in his renewed salary.


Many feel that the company’s ability to continue to inflate Iger’s salary but not even pay writers adequate salaries is simply a result of big corporate greed.

Others feel that Iger’s statements to the press are hypocritical, as the writers behind Disney’s many successful projects are who really keep the company afloat and pay his salary.

Scenes From The Picket Line

Before SAG-AFTRA announced their strike, several actors joined the WGA picket line. Notably, Mandy Patinkin of “The Princess Bride”, “Yentl,” and more showed support for writers at the very beginning.


We are asking for fairness: when the studios invest millions into producing a certain film or series, they can find it in their budgets to pay writers for the value they create. #WGAStrong #WGAStrike

♬ original sound – Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn G


Today, WGA and SAG-AFTRA members engulf studios with unique picket signs referencing shows they’ve worked on and their need for the demands they’ve requested.

A demonstrator takes a photo as members of the Writers Guild of America walk a picket line outside of Warner Bros. in New York on July 13, 2023. <yoastmark class=
A demonstrator takes a photo as members of the Writers Guild of America walk a picket line outside of Warner Bros. in New York on July 13, 2023. Actors were poised to go on strike July 13, joining writers in the first industry-wide shutdown in 63 years after last-ditch talks failed, with nearly all film and television production likely to grind to a halt. SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 performers including A-list stars, said negotiations late July 12 had ended without a deal. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)


The strike continues in both New York City and Los Angeles.

<yoastmark class=
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 13: Members of the Writers Guild of America East are joined by SAG-AFTRA members as they picket at the Warner Bros. Discovery NYC office on July 13, 2023 in New York City. SAG-AFTRA members joined a picketline with WGA members for a Support Staff Solidarity Day, a day after their contract expired and with membership previously authorizing a strike, with nearly 98 percent of voters in favor. WGA have been on strike since May 2. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)


Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav and other studio executives are yet to comment on the joint SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strike.

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