A coalition of 300 top-tier Hollywood celebrities has voiced a potential strike if their critical concerns are not addressed.
According to The Epoch Times, the coalition’s demands encompass enhanced protection against AI celebrity cloning, a significant hike in minimum pay, better health and pension conditions and an increase in media residuals.
The coalition of Hollywood celebrities threatening a potential strike include Ben Stiller, Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Kevin Bacon, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and many others.
In a letter delivered to the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) on June 28, the actors elaborated, “As regards artificial intelligence, we do not believe that SAG-AFTRA members can afford to make halfway gains in anticipation that more will be coming in three years, and 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 looming strike also parallels the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) strike against artificial intelligence’s encroachment on their industry and the potential impact on their earnings.
The high-profile actors’ demands come amidst the ongoing contract negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
The actors’ letter was submitted just before the June 30 negotiation deadline. Union executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and president Fran Drescher, known for her role in the 1980’s sitcom “The Nanny,” have so far not responded to requests for comments.
In a pre-emptive move, Crabtree-Ireland and Drescher issued a video message reassuring the actors of effective representation in the contract renewal talks. Crabtree-Ireland remains hopeful that the negotiations “will be able to bring the studios, networks, and streamers along to make a fair deal that respects union members and their contribution to this industry.”
However, the actors expressed dissatisfaction in their letter, noting that while a strike “brings incredible hardships to so many” and that no one wants a strike, the coalition is “prepared to strike if it comes to that.”
In the letter, the actors expressed their concern that “SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifice that leadership is not.”
Economic predictions from the Milken Institute suggest the strikes could cost billions and significantly impact the housing market, trades and the hospitality industry, among others.
The potential fallout echoes the 2008 Hollywood strike, which cost California $2.1 billion and was considered a trigger for the state’s recession.
In another dispute, several Hollywood actors are at odds with SAG-AFTRA over maintaining mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations in the industry despite significant opposition among members.
Some actors have lodged lawsuits against major producers and studios for lost roles due to vaccination refusal.
Danielle Rose, an actress in “Legacies” and “The Originals,” told The Epoch Times that COVID-19 vaccine policies caused her to be labeled “unvaccinated” and receive different treatment from other actors.
“I needed to use separate restrooms from the other performers, and not sit with them in the same transportation van,” she said. “While being ‘allowed’ to work, I never felt so ostracized and unwelcome on set.”