Drew Barrymore offered up an explanation Friday as to why her daytime talk show is returning, amid fierce criticism during the writers strike. However, later that afternoon, the video had been removed after criticism of the video on social media, notably from her fellow members of the entertainment industry.
Bradley Whitford, Debra Messing and Alyssa Milano were among actors who posted responses to Barrymore’s video. “I hope you will reconsider,” said Messing.
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“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” Barrymore said on the video, in an emotional video she posted on her Instagram. “I wanted to own a decision, so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation, and I would just take full responsibility for my actions.”
A tearful Barrymore continued, “I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that. There are so many reasons why this is so complex, and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anymore. It’s not who I am. I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them,” she said through tears.
“I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions,” Barrymore said.
“There’s a huge question of the why — why am I doing this?” she continued. “Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t going to break rules and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this, because as I said, this is bigger than me and there are other people’s jobs on the line.”
Barrymore previously announced her talk show would be returning on September 18 amid the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Soon after, “The Jennifer Hudson Show” and “The Talk” also announced their returns on the same day. But it is Barrymore who is getting the heat — perhaps because she came forward in a statement, unlike the other hosts from fellow daytime talk shows.
On Friday, a spokesperson from the Writers Guild of America told Variety, “Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal. In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work.”
A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, which produces “The Drew Barrymore Show,” is backing their star, noting that Barrymore is not violating SAG-AFTRA strike rules because she is working under The Network Code agreement that allows daytime hosts to perform hosting duties. The show spokesperson also says that “The Drew Barrymore Show” will be in “full compliance” with all strike rules when it returns on Monday.
“While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends,” the statement says, in part. “No one on our staff will fill a writing position. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open and honest conversations to her viewers and that will continue. The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100%.”
Barrymore’s show returning has been a widely criticized decision, and her show was met with protestors on its first day of production, earlier this week. The WGA condemned Barrymore’s decision to return, while SAG-AFTRA defended her.
WGA East said that “The Drew Barrymore Show” is a “WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers,” and the guild said it “will continue to picket struck shows that are in production during the strike,” noting that “any writing on ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is a violation of WGA strike rules.”
Barrymore is not in violation of current SAG-AFTRA strike rules because her work as host of the show is covered by a different contract than the one in dispute by actors. (The contract that covers talk shows, game shows, variety shows and soap operas was renewed and ratified by union members in 2022.) In a statement, SAG-AFTRA said, “‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is produced under the Network Television Code which is a separate contract and is not struck. It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”
Talk shows that have already returned this season include “Live! With Kelly and Mark” and “Tamron Hall,” both of which do not have any writers and are not covered by the WGA, as well as “The View,” which has two WGA writers who stepped away and have not been working since the strike began. Sherri Shepherd’s show “Sherri,” which returns on Sept. 18, does not have any writers and is not a WGA show.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with statements from the WGA and CBS Media Ventures.
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