SAG-AFTRA strike continues as talks with studios break down

The ongoing strike by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has reached a new impasse as negotiations with the studios have been suspended. The union, which represents about 160,000 actors, has been on strike since July 14, demanding better pay, residuals, and protections for its members.


What led to the suspension of negotiations?

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major Hollywood studios and networks, said in a statement on Wednesday that the gap between the two sides is “too great” and that “conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.”

The AMPTP singled out a viewership bonus that SAG-AFTRA proposed, which would link actors’ compensation to the number of views their shows or films generate on streaming platforms. The AMPTP said this bonus would cost more than $800 million per year and create an “untenable economic burden” for the industry.

SAG-AFTRA did not immediately respond to the AMPTP’s statement, but it has previously argued that actors deserve a fair share of the profits from the booming streaming market, which has eroded traditional residual payments. The union also wants more transparency and accountability from the studios on how they measure and report viewership data.

How has the strike affected the industry?

The SAG-AFTRA strike has disrupted the production and release of many shows and films across various platforms. Some of the affected projects include Netflix’s Stranger Things, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Disney+’s The Mandalorian, and Apple TV+’s The Morning Show.

The strike has also affected other workers in the industry, such as writers, directors, crew members, and stunt performers, who have either lost work or faced delays and uncertainty due to the labor dispute. Some of them have expressed solidarity with the actors, while others have urged both sides to reach a deal soon.

The strike has also raised public awareness and support for the actors’ cause, as many celebrities and fans have voiced their opinions on social media using the hashtag #IStandWithSAGAFTRA. Some of the notable supporters include Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Dwayne Johnson, Mark Ruffalo, Kerry Washington, and Chris Pratt.

What are the prospects for a resolution?

The suspension of negotiations does not mean that the strike is over or that there is no hope for a settlement. Both parties can resume talks at any time if they are willing to compromise and find common ground. However, given the current stalemate and the high stakes involved, it is unclear when or how that will happen.

In the meantime, the actors’ union has vowed to continue its strike until it achieves a “modern contract that addresses modern issues.” The union has also called on its members to keep picketing outside various studios and locations until further notice.

The studios’ association has also expressed its desire to end the strike and reach a fair agreement with SAG-AFTRA. The AMPTP said in its statement that it remains “committed to working together to find solutions that recognize the contributions of our performers while ensuring the long-term health and success of our industry.”

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