Strike Looms Closer As WGA Overwhelmingly Approves Authorization Vote
“Armed with this undeniable demonstration of unity and resolve, we will continue to work at the negotiating table to achieve a fair contract for all writers,” the Guild’s leadership said in a statement.
Ready. Set. Strike.
Hollywood inched another step closer to a writer’s strike on Monday after members of the Writers Guild of America passed a strike authorization vote.
Nearly 98% of the Guild’s members voted in favor of a strike, but the vote does not guarantee a strike will happen. The WGA’s contract expires on May 1, and union leadership will continue to negotiate with studios until then. If talks fail and no deal is reached between the two parties, however, the WGA will have the power to take to the picket lines.
“Writers have expressed our collective strength, solidarity, and the demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers,” WGA leadership said in a statement. “Armed with this undeniable demonstration of unity and resolve, we will continue to work at the negotiating table to achieve a fair contract for all writers.”
Over 78% of eligible WGA members cast ballots. The strong turnout is unsurprising, as writers have made their issues regarding inadequate pay clear in recent weeks. Many of the issues at hand relate to the effects streaming has had on the entertainment industry.
One primary concern is “mini rooms,” which have been popularized in the streaming era. While a “mini room” can take many different forms, it often involves a studio getting a small group of writers to develop and write a series in a very short span of time before it is even picked up. Because the studio has not picked it up, writers get a smaller check than if they were in a proper writer’s room. Also, because the writing period is so short, it lacks stability and leaves writers constantly scrambling for their next gig.
Writers are also seeking to address how residual payments have been essentially killed by streaming, as reruns, syndication, and DVD purchases are no longer as lucrative as they once were now that most shows live on a streaming platform.
Writers Face Economic Uncertainty
Overall, it has become increasingly difficult for average, middle-class writers to stay afloat.
“The current trajectory that the business is on is just going to make the chasm between getting a job and actually having a career bigger and bigger,” screenwriter Chris Hazzard said in a video posted to the WGA’s social media channels. He added that when he started out in the industry, it was easier to pave “the pathway to a career” after landing a couple of jobs, but now, “it’s such a struggle to even get that first job.”
“I think that everything we are asking for in this negotiation is really aimed at trying to make this a fair workplace where a career is attainable for more of our membership,” he added.
In addition to jobs getting harder to land, pay has also become more stagnant. Eric Haywood, a member of the WGA’s negotiating committee, told The New York Times that “writers are working more weeks for less money.” He added that in some cases, “veteran writers are working for the same money or, in some cases, less money than they made just a few years ago.”
Studios Push Back
For its part, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, said the WGA’s strike vote was an inevitable part of the Guild’s plan. The AMPTP said it wants to “reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” but claimed that is only possible if “the Guild is committed to turning its focus to serious bargaining by engaging in full discussions of the issues with the Companies and searching for reasonable compromises.”
The WGA has pointed its finger right back at them, previously saying the studios have not offered any “meaningful responses” to their core economic issues.
“As complicated as our issues may seem, it all boils down to something every worker in every industry understands: corporate greed. Writers are ready to fight back,” Brittani Nichols, a writer for ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” tweeted in a post explaining her “yes” vote.
Should a writer’s strike take shape come May, the stakes are high. The 2007-2008 writer’s strike shut down Hollywood for 100 days, costing the Los Angeles economy roughly $3 billion.
Studios are bracing for the strike, however, with many outlets saying scripts are being stockpiled and reality shows are at the ready since those do not need writers.
See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (The Los Angeles Times) (The Hollywood Reporter)
Max to Agrees to “Properly” Credit Writers and Directors After Facing Backlash For Lumping Them in As “Creators”
The company said the credits were laid out incorrectly due to “an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max.”
After film and television writers slammed Max for crediting all writers, producers, and directors as general “creators” on its platform, the company said it will be adjusting its credits display.
“We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized,” the streaming service said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Max — the new rebrand of HBO Max that incorporates Discovery content — launched on Tuesday to much criticism. Amid glitches and app-switching confusion, the biggest backlash it faced was over the choice to lump creative roles into one credit section called “creators.” As one viral tweet noted, if a user were to select the film “Raging Bull,” the service’s display would not specifically credit Martin Scorsese as the director, rather, his name would be included at random with half a dozen other people, including writers and producers.
The decision was condemned by many in the industry who argued it minimizes writers and directors by not properly giving them credit where it is due. Especially amid the ongoing writers’ strike, and with directors and actors starting negotiations with studios, some took it as a slap in the face.
“The studios don’t want anyone to know our names,” writer Christina Strain tweeted. “It’s easier to pay us nothing if we’re faceless.”
“Another move from studios to diminish the role of writers, directors, actors and other craftspeople. Miss me wit this nonsense,” Jorge Rivera, the Vice-Chair of the Writers Guild’s Latinx Writers Committee, added.
In a statement, Directors Guild President Lesli Linka Glatter said that Warner Bros. Discovery’s choice to “collapse” these roles into one credit “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union.”
“The DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter continued.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm claimed the move was “a credits violation,” as well as an insult “to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions.”
On Wednesday, Max said it would rework its crediting.
“We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake,” the platform said.
See what others are saying: (Gizmodo) (The Hollywood Reporter) (The Los Angeles Times)
A Quarter of Young British Men Support Andrew Tate’s Thoughts on Women
U.K. residents at large, however, do not view him favorably.
Even under house arrest in Romania, misogynist influencer Andrew Tate still holds substantial sway over young men.
According to data from YouGov that was obtained by The Independent, 26% of U.K. men between 18 and 29 years old who know of Tate agree with his views on women. That figure was largely the same for men between 30 and 39, as 28% agreed with Tate’s opinions on the subject.
Men in their 30s were slightly more likely to agree with Tate on his thoughts about masculinity. Three out of ten supported those views, compared to just a quarter of men 18 to 29.
Those statistics only include the thoughts of men who have heard of Tate, but per YouGov, most have. In the 18 to 29 group, 93% were familiar with him, and 86% of men in their 30s knew of him.
The U.K. at large was less aware of Tate, with just 63% of British adults having heard of him. Of that group, only 6% held a positive view of him.
Tate has faced substantial backlash for his sexist rhetoric over the years. In the past, he said that men should have “authority” over their wives or girlfriends, and that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped. He was previously banned from Twitter over his extremist views on women but has since been allowed back on the platform.
He is currently being investigated in Romania for organized crime and human trafficking. He was arrested and held in custody in December but was released to house arrest earlier this year. No formal charges have been filed against him yet and he has maintained his innocence.
Tate currently boasts a Twitter following of 6.7 million. It has grown significantly since he was enveloped in legal controversy, and many of his supporters have demanded his release.
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Glamour U.K.)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Involved in “Near Catastrophic” Paparazzi Chase
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” a spokesperson for the couple said.
“Aggressive” Paparazzi Chase Couple in New York
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were involved in a “near catastrophic” paparazzi car chase Tuesday night in New York City, according to a spokesperson for the couple.
In a statement, the spokesperson described the photographers as “highly aggressive.”
“While being a public figure comes with a level of interest from the public, it should never come at the cost of anyone’s safety,” the statement added.
“This relentless pursuit, lasting over two hours, resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two NYPD officers,” it continued.
Details of the incident are still emerging, but BBC News reported that there are claims the chase involved roughly six cars driving recklessly by running red lights, driving on the sidewalk, carrying out blocking moves, going backward on a one-way road, and taking pictures while driving.
The chase happened after Harry and Meghan were leaving the Women of Vision Awards with Meghan’s mother, Doria. They did not want photographers to learn where they were staying and attempted to avoid them in what turned into a 75-minute chase on a main road in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. They eventually ducked into a New York Police Department Precinct to hide out before getting into a different vehicle.
The NYPD released a statement confirming that they assisted in protecting the couple as “numerous photographers” hindered their transport. Officials said they made it to their destination and there were no collisions, injuries, or arrests.
The couple’s spokesperson is asking the public to not share or post footage of the incident.
“Dissemination of these images, given the ways in which they were obtained, encourages a highly intrusive practice that is dangerous to all in involved,” the spokesperson said.
Memories of Princess Diana
The chase evokes the brutal press hounding Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was subjected to throughout her life. The paparazzi’s obsession with her ultimately resulted in her death in 1997, when she was killed in a car crash after being chased by photographers in Paris.
Since marrying Meghan and later bowing out of the Royal Family, Harry has made it explicitly clear that he fears those events could happen again. Meghan has been the subject of endless tabloid scrutiny, enduring racism and harassment from the press. Part of the reason they left the Royal Family was to keep their family protected from such attacks.
Mayor Eric Adams brought up Diana’s tragic passing while speaking about Tuesday night’s chase.
“I don’t think there’s many of us who don’t recall how [Harry’s] mom died,” Adams said while speaking to reporters. “And it would be horrific to lose an innocent bystander during a chase like this and something to have happened to them as well…I think that was a bit reckless and irresponsible.”
Adams also questioned whether or not he believes a chase could go on for two hours in a city as congested as New York, but noted that even a 10-minute chase would be dangerous. He said he will be briefed on the exact timeline and details later.