This summer, we have witnessed entertainment industry event that the world has not seen in generations.
Both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA are striking amidst unthinkable corporate cheating. Executives are paying themselves tens of millions, while using streaming loopholes to pay minuscule residuals to the people who actually make TV and film.
It’s unsustainable. And there are many other issues that desperately need addressing.
Amidst all of this, a few clowns decided to resume their shows — scabbing during the strike. Sadly, Drew Barrymore was among them. Now, at least, she has reversed course and offered a heartfelt apology.
Please, don’t scab
Last week, The Drew Barrymore Show resumed — an apparent violation of the work stoppage.
Years ago, talk shows could continue in some form during strikes, lining the pockets of networks without their usual content. Those rules have since changed.
Reports came out, describing Barrymore’s security expelling studio audience members who wore strike-related materials.
Simply put, the whole point of any sort of strike — such as the one that America’s courageous auto workers recently authorized — is for the people who actually create goods and services and art that generate profit to bargain collectively.
Only a small percentage of actors are millionaires or more. Even a smaller percentage of writers are. The vast majority of SAG-AFTRA actors don’t even make as much as your average first-year teacher.
People who create value should then receive financial compensation for their labor and ingenuity. But with massive companies obsessed with golden parachutes and stockholders, it has become a game of cheating them out of their due.
We were ALL rooting for you!
Crossing the picket line — literally or metaphorically — hurts strikers. It also, by extension, hurts most Americans.
So when Drew Barrymore, or The Talk, or whatever Bill Maher’s god-awful show is called … when they start filming despite a work stoppage, it helps these corporate behemoths to avoid paying people what they owe them.
In case anyone wondered how valuable actors and writers actually are, Warner Bros Discovery projected a loss of $500 million for 2023. That’s bad, even under Zaslav’s leadership. Agreeing to the guilds’ terms would have cost a fraction of that.
No one was rooting for Maher
Long story short, it sucked to hear that Barrymore was filming with scabs instead of her own writers. People felt disappointed in her.
Everyone expected this from Maher. He is a notoriously awful person who will almost invariably take the wrong stance on most issues.
The backlash was intense. And while it was a great opportunity to dunk on Maher, it was a time to bite the bullet and call out Barrymore.
Two apologies: a hit and a miss
Late last week, she put out an apology … but did not signal her intent to change course. That was, obviously, not enough.
Now, Barrymore is showing that she has listened to and understood people’s concerns.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she wrote on Instagram. Absolutely, it is a good thing that she has listened. We’re sure that many friends reached out to her.
“I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt,” Barrymore continued.
“And, of course,” Barrymore acknowledged, “to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today.”
Oddly, she wrote: “We really tried to find our way forward.”
Barrymore affirmed: “And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
Previously, she had explained that she was trying to resume work to save the jobs of other people.
For the record, other talk show hosts have formed a podcast, Strike Force Five, to earn money to pay their writers and crews.
Like we said, a lot of people felt disappointed in Drew Barrymore. Reversing course was the right thing to do, and it’s a relief.
What’s really a sign of the incredible upswell in public opinion is that The Talk and Bill Maher are also reacting to the backlash. Both halted plans to resume business as usual.
As many on social media observed, if Maher is caving, public pressure is an effective tool.
There’s only one group of people who can end these strikes, and they’re executives in charge of some of the biggest entertainment industry corporations on the planet.
Instead, many executives planned vacations for this year. Companies have pushed film releases to next year — to a post-strike time when actors can promote their projects.
They can end the strikes by agreeing to reasonable terms from SAG-AFTRA and the WGA. Instead, it appears from the outside that they’d rather continue to lose money out of spite.