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Hollywood Will Shut Down For the First Time Since 1960

Hollywood Will Shut Down For the First Time Since 1960

Hollywood will face its first industry-wide shutdown in over six decades.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the union representing 160,000 television and film actors, announced that talks with major studios have broken down and have gone on strike following the decision.

Early Thursday morning, SAG-AFTRA released a statement stating that its negotiating board had unanimously voted in favor of recommending a strike after the midnight deadline for contract negotiations passed. The impasse comes after a tense month of discussions between the prominent union and major studio and streaming services, focusing on issues like actors’ remuneration for AI “digital doubles.” Negotiations were extended until July 12, extending the previous three-year contract, to allow for further talks.

Fran Drescher, the president of SAG-AFTRA, and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the union’s chief negotiator, expressed disappointment with the major studios, accusing them of being “unwilling to offer a fair deal on the key issues.”

“Despite our team’s dedication to advocating on your behalf, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has refused to acknowledge that enormous shifts in the industry and economy have had a detrimental impact on those who perform labor for the studios,” said Drescher.

They also added that the studios’ responses to their proposals “have not been adequate.”

“We’re looking to make sure that acting can be a sustainable career choice for people, not just the 100 most famous celebrities in the world, but for the whole large population of our membership,” said Crabtree-Ireland. “They should be able to make a living and you know, pay a mortgage or pay rent like everybody else.”

On Thursday afternoon, the union’s national board approved strike action. The union is expected to picket alongside the Writers Guild of America, with its 11,500 members who have been on strike since early May. This marks the first time since 1960 that both actors and writers have walked out.

Support for strike action has gained momentum among leading Hollywood stars, with over 300 influential figures, including Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep and Quinta Brunson, writing an open letter backing SAG-AFTRA’s stance.

“We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade,” read the letter. “We need to reverse those trajectories.”

The negotiations between movie studios and the actors’ union have focused on the same contentious issues that triggered the writers’ walkout. Disputes over compensation for films sold to streaming services and contractual guarantees regarding the use of artificial intelligence in films and TV have proved particularly challenging to resolve.

“We think it is absolutely vital that this negotiation protects not just our likenesses, but makes sure we are well compensated when any of our work is used to train AI,” the letter stated.

As Hollywood embarks on an unprecedented industry shutdown, the fate of the entertainment world hangs in the balance. Both film and TV productions have began to shutdown productions, which means audiences should be ready to watch lots and lots of re-runs.

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