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Actor Strike: Recap

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“Deadpool” production – delayed. “Deadpool” was amongst hundreds of films and TV shows put on pause due to the actors’ strike. Beginning on July 14, 2023, members of SAG-AFTRA —America’s main performer union— struck in regard to unjust pay and the unauthorized use of artificial intelligence. The strike lasted 118 days and officially ended Nov. 9, 2023, at 12:01 a.m., and a tentative billion dollar deal was made.

SAG-AFTRA, short for the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, is the main union protecting and representing performers in America. They ensure a consistently safe work environment and ensure performers get paid for wages, penalties, claims and residuals. Instead of performers individually having to negotiate with studios and companies they work with, SAG takes over and sets up a contract to protect the individual. To get into SAG-AFTRA, there are a number of conditions that must be met— a performer must have met a required amount of previous work hours, and must pay an annual fee, as well as a $3,000 initiation fee. 

With the rise of streaming services and AI, many performers had been undermined with their work. Streaming changed the way actors were getting paid— lowering their compensation greatly to the point most actors become unable to support themselves. Unlike cable TV, streaming does not pay their actors each time an episode is viewed, instead, they are paid a small amount for having the show on a platform. Streaming services like Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Apple were all refusing to negotiate pay raises and streaming revenue. 

Actors wanted an 11% baseline raise to match with inflation, and protection against AI, which is a threat to the film industry in many ways. Actors wanted to know how AI was going to be implemented, and for it to be regulated. They did not want their jobs to be overtaken by the programs.                                                                                                                                                                                                       

There are over 160,000 actors within SAG-AFTRA as of 2023, and all of them were affected by the strike. Thousands of people were left jobless, hundreds of productions were delayed or canceled, and actors were not allowed to promote their new releases. Major movies like “Deadpool 3,” “Venom 3,” “BeetleJuice 2,” and “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse” were delayed. Many celebrities supported the strike, including the cast of “Oppenheimer,” who left the premier in support. Florence Pugh, Adam Sandler, Anna Kendrick, the entire cast of “Community” and many more were seen supporting the strike by attending protests and speaking out. Steven Spielberg even donated to the Entertainment Community Fund, which helped support industry workers during the strike.

On Nov 8, 2023, SAG-AFTRA posted on their social media that the strike would officially be over the next day, alongside a brief explanation of the deal. The union was increasing minimum compensation, provisions for consent and composition to protect its members from AI, and creating a streaming participation bonus. Minimum compensation will increase by 7% within the next 2 years.

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About the Contributor
Arianna Baez
Arianna Baez, Social Media Manager and News Editor
Arianna is a senior in the drama academy, also a part of Good Day Forest Hills and Yearbook. She enjoys creative writing, reading, and playing music. She is thrilled to be a part of The Beacon.
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