Update: SAG-AFTRA has just announced via press conference that it will strike at midnight tonight.
SAG-AFTRA will strike against the AMPTP starting on Friday, July 13, so writers can expect thousands of actors to join them on the picket lines — if they haven’t already.
This will be the first time since 1960 that two major guilds — in this case, the actors and the WGA — have called a strike at the same time. The DGA settled its differences with the studios, networks, and streamers last month, though they face very different issues from their fellow above-the-liners and benefit from a Favored Nations clause that will grant them contractual terms equal to whatever the writers and actors negotiate for themselves.
While many stayed up late on Wednesday night waiting for word of a strike following the expiration of the guild’s current contract, SAG-AFTRA’s leadership met on Thursday morning to vote in favor of a labor stoppage.
In a rare self-inflicted PR misstep, Disney’s Bob Iger voluntarily became the villain of the ongoing WGA strike on Thursday morning when he went on CNBC — from the Sun Valley Conference, aka Billionaire Summer Camp, in Idaho — and said that he was “very disturbed” by the rhetoric of striking writers, who had “unrealistic” expectations of the AMPTP — those expectations being able to afford groceries. Keep in mind that Iger pocketed $54 million over the last two years.
And it’s not that Iger didn’t deserve that $54 million, and the many millions more he’ll rake in after extending his contract to serve as Disney’s CEO through 2026. That’s the value that Disney’s Board of Directors has determined that he brings to the company, and he could likely make more elsewhere. But Iger was the rare Hollywood executive who was loved by most, many of whom cheered when he returned to replace Bob Chapek. With one incredibly tone-deaf interview, he jeopardized both his legacy within the industry and whatever political future he may hope to have one day. David Zaslav should be sending him a fruit basket.
It’s unclear when SAG-AFTRA plans to formally announce its plans to strike [they did so literally minutes after this story was posted] but the news is certainly imminent, as these two sides remain far apart. The AMPTP could allow it to last for months — late October, according to the most dire estimates — or they could take it on the chin and wave a white flag after a few weeks. Either way, it sounds like this is happening, folks.
Buckle up, and stay safe out there…