Hollywood actors, writers go on strike


LOS ANGELES: Hollywood actors have announced they will join an ongoing strike by screenwriters in the industry’s biggest shutdown in over 60 years, multiple reports have said.

The union – officially known as the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA – is demanding that streaming giants agree to a fairer split of profits and better working conditions. They also want a guarantee that artificial intelligence (AI) and computer-generated faces and voices will not be used to replace actors.

Over 160,000 performers will stop work at midnight Los Angeles Time, bringing almost all US film and TV production to a standstill.

On Thursday, in a show of solidarity, Hollywood stars Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon and Emily Blunt left the London premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer when the strike was announced.

Picketing will begin on Friday morning outside the California headquarters of Netflix, before moving on to Paramount, Warner Bros and Disney.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association that negotiates on behalf of the studios, said it was “deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to walk away from negotiations.”

The group said it had offered the highest percentage increases in minimum pay levels in 35 years, “substantial increases” in pension and healthcare contribution caps, and a 76% increase in foreign residuals paid from big-budget streaming shows, among other benefits.

The studios also claimed to put forth “a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses,” the AMPTP said. Actors are worried that their digital images will be used without their permission or proper compensation.

According to a BBC report, SAG’s national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that “they propose that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day’s pay, and their company should own that scan of their image, their likeness, and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity.”

“If you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again,” he added.

The strike includes over 10,000 actors who receive significantly less pay for smaller roles, compared to their A-list colleagues.

 

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