George Clooney has thrown his support behind the SAG-AFTRA strike, emphasizing the significance of this moment for the industry. Speaking to the press, Clooney stated, “This is an inflection point in our industry. For our industry to survive, that has to change. For actors, that journey starts now.” The actor’s statement comes as SAG members picket in Los Angeles, with Clooney being one of the most prominent figures to back the strike. He also noted, “Actors and writers in large numbers have lost their ability to make a living.”
SAG-AFTRA, representing 160,000 members, voted unanimously to strike after failing to reach an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents movie studios and streaming services. Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director, explained, “The board has determined that union members should withhold their labor until a fair contract can be achieved. A strike is an instrument of last resort, and unfortunately, they have left us with no alternative.”
One contentious issue in negotiations was an “AI proposal” that would allow producers to scan extras’ faces, pay them for one day of work, and use their likeness indefinitely without further compensation. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher called the decision “a very seminal hour for us.”
This strike coincides with the ongoing writers’ strike initiated by the Writers Guild of America, which began in May. If both strikes continue, it could mark Hollywood’s first double strike since 1960.
President Joe Biden has expressed support for the SAG-AFTRA strike, asserting that all workers, including actors, deserve fair pay and benefits. The White House spokesperson, Robyn Patterson, stated, “The President supports workers’ right to strike and hopes the parties can reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”