Bill Maher Says ‘People Are Being Hurt’ by WGA Strike: No One Is ‘Owed a Living as a Writer’

Bill Maher Criticizes WGA Strike
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Bill Maher criticized the Writers Guild of America's strike amid stalled negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“They’re asking for a lot of things that are, like, kooky,” Maher, 67, said on the Monday, September 4, episode of Jim Gaffigan's "Club Random" podcast. “What I find objectionable about the philosophy of the strike [is] it seems to be, they have really morphed a long way from 2007's strike, where they kind of believe that you're owed a living as a writer, and you’re not. This is show business. This is the make-or-miss league.”

Both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have a variety of demands for the AMPTP (which represents Disney, Amazon, Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery), including setting parameters around the use of artificial intelligence and residuals from streaming platforms.

"I'm not saying they don't have points," Maher added, agreeing that streaming platforms need to release viewing data, a major point of contention in both the WGA strike and the SAG-AFTRA strike.

"There should be recalibration and I think everybody else knows that," Maher said.

The discussion started when Gaffigan worried the strike might kill late night, but he noted it has yet to affect Real Time With Bill Maher. Maher claimed that the broadcast late night hosts (such as Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers) wouldn't ever cross the picket line.

"Those guys don't have takes. I have takes. I have a take on things. What they do is say exactly what a liberal audience wants them to say about that," he said. "The strike is a perfect example — those guys would never go back. This strike could go on ‘til the 24th century they would stay out."

Maher bemoaned how there were only two sides to the strike, which he believes does not allow space for a more nuanced discussion.

“I feel for my writers. I love my writers. I’m one of my writers. But there’s a big other side to it," he alleged. "And a lot of people are being hurt besides them — a lot of people who don’t make as much money as them in this bipartisan world we have where you’re just in one camp or the other, there’s no in between.,”

He continued: “You’re either for the strike like they’re f–king Che Guevara out there, you know, like, this is Cesar Chavez’s lettuce picking strike — or you’re with Trump. There’s no difference — there’s only two camps. And it’s much more complicated than that.”

Maher also claimed that the strike started at an inopportune time.

"They're striking against the streamers, who are looking for a get out of jail card for how much they overspend,” he said. “They have tons of stuff in stock, so they have no reason to wanna settle this strike. They struck at just the wrong time; they have no leverage."