Why The Joint WGA And SAG-AFTRA Strike Puts Digital Creators In A Unique Position

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BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JULY 17: Striking SAG-AFTRA members picket with striking WGA (Writers Guild of America) workers outside Warner Bros. Studio on July 17, 2023 in Burbank, California. Members of SAG-AFTRA, Hollywood’s largest union which represents actors and other media professionals, have joined the striking writers in the first joint walkout against the studios since 1960. The strike could shut down Hollywood productions completely with writers in the third month of their strike against the Hollywood studios.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

In May 2023, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced they would go on strike for the first time since 2008. By July, SAG-AFTRA, which hosts some of the most acclaimed actors in Hollywood, joined them in striking. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike began at different times, but remain inextricably linked.

The WGA first went on strike due to several major film and television studios refusing to raise writers’ wages in accordance with inflation and the demands of streaming services, and refusing to offer them job security amid the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Soon enough, actors found themselves facing similar challenges. Particularly, supporting actors who appear on television shows across several streaming services claim that they can no longer survive off of residuals anymore due to streaming.

Actors and writers continue to speak out on social media regarding their motivations to go on strike. Actress Fran Drescher currently serves as SAG-AFTRA’s president, and made the public announcement regarding the union’s strike. Countless notable actors have shared their thoughts along the picket line, from Sean Gunn and Mandy Patinkin to Alex Borstein and Nina Dobrev. Actor Luke Cook, notably of “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” “Dollface”, and more popular titles, put the importance of the strike into perspective for television viewers.


Replying to @Drew #sagstrike #sagaftra

♬ original sound – Luke Cook

Social Media Response To Strike

The newfound social media awareness surrounding the joint strike, which is the first of its kind in 60 years, is raising important conversations within the digital creator and influencer space. Countless content creators from TikTok and YouTube have made their way into the entertainment industry–from Addison Rae to Emmy award winning writer-actress Quinta Brunson. With SAG-AFTRA members now on strike, studios grapple with finding new ways to fill roles in an attempt to skirt their demands.

A report from The Information shared that SAG-AFTRA issued a list of FAQs to influencers potentially seeking membership in either the WGA or SAG-AFTRA. “Any non-member seeking future membership in SAG-AFTRA who performs covered work or services for a struck company during the strike will not be admitted into membership,” the memo read.

Influencers and digital creators are sharing content about why it is important to not fall into the studios’ productions amid the strike. Many remind the pool of non-union workers that while these opportunities may seem tempting, they will ultimately soil their chances of properly breaking into the industry.



Influencers & Creators the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike affects YOU #wga #sagaftra #strike #laurenashleybeck #scabbing

♬ original sound – Lauren Ashley Beck

In addition to a full stop in filming projects, all SAG-AFTRA and WGA members will not be speaking to the press regarding their projects. Influencers and digital creators who comment on pop culture on a freelance basis are now evaluating their own topics to cover outside of the guidance of a traditional news organization. Creators continue to warn influencers to avoid this at all costs to prevent their actions from being seen as “scabbing”, a term referring to strike violations.


#stitch with @????????????????️‍???????? thank hou to creators like this one for holding the picket line and standing with us!!! #sagaftrastrong #sagaftrastrike #sagstrike #unionstrong

♬ Mean (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift

Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger called the strikers’ demands “unrealistic” and “disturbing.” No major studio has made progress towards a fair contract with either union at this time.

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