Many television writers are already back at work after the Writers of Guild of America recently ratified a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. However, talks between studio heads and the Screen Actors Guild for a fair deal are looking bleak. Following their latest meeting, after five days of negotiations, bargaining between the two parties has been “suspended,” according to the AMPTP.
“After meaningful conversations, it is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the AMPTP wrote in a press release on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, SAG is calling out Hollywood CEOs—including Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, who are all present during the talks—for low-balling and using “bullying tactics.”
“It is with profound disappointment that we report the industry CEOs have walked away from the bargaining table after refusing to counter the latest offer,” SAG’s TV/Theatrical Negotiating Committee announced on X on Thursday. “We have negotiated with them in good faith, despite the fact that last week, they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began.”
The post continues, “These companies refuse to protect performers from being replaced by AI. They refuse to increase your wages to keep up with inflation. And they refuse to share a tiny portion of the immense revenue your work generates for them.”
In a subsequent email to SAG members, the union also accused the AMPTP of “intentionally misrepresen[ing]” the cost of their latest proposal on Oct. 11, which cost companies “less than 57 cents per subscriber each year.” In the AMPTP’s press release, the association claimed that SAG’s offer would cost “more than $800 million a year” and “create an untenable economic burden.” However, SAG told members that they have “overstated” this amount by “60 percent.”
This latest stall in negotiations has resulted in messages of solidarity from WGA members and some clearly frustrated reactions from actors on social media, including actress Lily Gladstone, who stars in one of the most anticipated films of the year, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon.
Meanwhile, the industry is still planning for a full-fledged (but presumably delayed) 2023-2024 awards season and submitting the year’s buzziest films and performances for awards consideration. Under SAG strike rules, members—minus those working on independent productions—would not be allowed to campaign or attend televised ceremonies.
However, the studios’ latest display of stubbornness threatens to unite actors and their non-striking industry-mates even more and halt Hollywood’s busiest time of the year altogether.