Following the path set by the Writers Guild Of America this past May, SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents 160,000 television and movie actors, voted to go on strike Thursday afternoon. This dual action—something that hasn't happened simultaneously since 1960—brings Hollywood's $134 billion American movie and television business to a halt over anger about pay and fears of a tech-dominated future, reports The New York Times.
Issa Rae, EBONY's current cover star, summed up how many are feeling about the imminent walk-out on her Instagram story moments after the strike was announced. Sitting in a stylist's chair, the Insecure creator and Barbie actress declared, "Well, everything is f#$%ed."
Kendrick Sampson gave a real-life example to explain why the demand for better residual wages is crucial for film and TV writers and actors. The fellow Insecure alum shared that his past 50 residual checks had only added up to $86. "I know people are struggling much more than me," he stated in his post, adding, "This is why we strike."
Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer announced her support of the strike, writing on her Instagram account, "I stand with my fellow #SAGAFTRAMembers during the #SAGStrike alongside the #WGA in their fight. And I support the many skilled unionized workers across all industries that deserve fair compensation. We cannot do it without each other."
Yvette Nicole Brown, who just announced the 2023 Primetime Emmy nominees earlier this week, expressed her support on Twitter. "It’s official @sagaftra has voted to strike," she wrote. "We will be joining the WGA on the picket lines starting tomorrow. We all got together last week to create our signs. I was on sticks! When you’re out there without a splinter thanks to the duct tape, think of ya girl! #UnionStrong." Emmy nominee Sheryl Lee Ralph posted the SAG-AFTRA logo declaring the strike.
The union strike officially began at midnight. Celebrities and working actors are expected to be on the picket lines today.