Jennifer Lawrence, A-List Actors Threaten to Strike in Letter to SAG

Hollywood Exteriors And Landmarks - 2023 - Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Hollywood Exteriors And Landmarks - 2023 - Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Earlier this month, members of the Screen Actors Guild voted to authorize a strike if their negotiating committee doesn’t reach an agreement on a new contract with major Hollywood studios by June 30. SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher released a video message this week with an update on the negotiations, telling members, “We are having an [sic] extremely productive negotiations that are laser focused on all of the crucial issues you told us are most important to you. We’re standing strong and we are going to achieve a seminal deal.”

But the message didn’t sit right with a lot of actors who are urging SAG not to settle for a deal that doesn’t represent all of their demands. More than 300 actors signed a letter addressed to the SAG-AFTRA Leadership and Negotiating Committee that’s circulating and was allegedly sent to leadership expressing their concern with the idea that “SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not.”

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“We hope you’ve heard the message from us: This is an unprecedented inflection point in our industry, and what might be considered a good deal in any other years is simply not enough,” the letter, obtained by Rolling Stone, says. “We feel that our wages, our craft, our creative freedom, and the power of our union have all been undermined in the last decade. We need to reverse those trajectories.”

The message was signed by hundreds of members, including Hollywood stars like Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Rami Malek, Quinta Brunson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ben Stiller, Neil Patrick Harris, Amy Schumer, and Amy Poehler.

Representatives for SAG-AFTRA didn’t immediately return Rolling Stone’s request for comment.

With just days left to make a deal before their contract with Hollywood studios, streamers, and production companies runs out, everyone who signed the letter says they’re “prepared to strike if it comes to that,” even though it’s not preferable because it “brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it.” The members addressed a number of issues that are important to them when it comes to negotiations, including minimum pay, residuals that consider the growth of streaming, healthcare, pensions, and regulation around how self-tapes are used in the casting process.

The letter also calls out members’ fears and concerns around the use of artificial intelligence, saying, “We do not believe that SAG-AFTRA members can afford to make halfway gains in anticipation that more will be coming in three years, and we think it is absolutely vital that this negotiation protects not just our likenesses, but makes sure we are well compensated when any of our work is used to train AI.”

“We want you to know that we would rather go on strike than compromise on these fundamental points, and we believe that, if we settle for a less than transformative deal, the future of our union and our craft will be undermined, and SAG-AFTRA will enter the next negotiation with drastically reduced leverage,” the letter continues.

Los Angeles, California—May 4, 2023—On day three of the Writers Guild of America strike, a large group of WGA members picket in front of Paramount Studio gate in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2023. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
On day three of the Writers Guild of America strike, a large group of WGA members picket in front of Paramount Studios gate in Los Angeles, California, on May 4, 2023.

Back in May, the Writers Guild of America went on strike after they failed to negotiate a deal with Hollywood studios. WGA members have been vocal about their concerns about working conditions across the industry, including many outlined and echoed by SAG members. The issue of artificial intelligence in particular has become a highly discussed topic and major sticking point.

In their sign-off, actors ask their leadership to “push for change” and to ensure the protections they’re asking for. “If you are not able to get all the way there, we ask that you use the power given to you by us, the membership, and join the WGA on the picket lines,” they write. “For our union and its future, this is our moment. We hope that, on our behalf, you will meet that moment and not miss it.”

Here are the signatories listed in the letter obtained by Rolling Stone:

Chris Abbott

Amy Acker

Patrick J Adams

Lauren Adams

Paul Adelstein

Uzo Aduba

Alex Anfanger

Genevieve Angelson

Amy Aniobi

Hale Appleman

Amanda Arcuri

Fred Armisen

Kevin Bacon

Jodi Balfour

Talia Balsam

Elizabeth Banks

Matt Barats

Sara Bareilles

Ike Barinholtz

Britt Baron

Shakira Barrera

Max Barsness

Todd Bartels

Sarah Beth Bassak

Mikie Beatty

Alison Becker

Emma Bell

Troian Bellisario

Gregg Bello

Francis Benhamou

Todd Berger

Reed Birney

Gus Birney

Ephraim Birney

Bre Blair

Daniel Blake

Rowan Blanchard

Rachel Bloom

Josh Bonzie

Megan Boone

Joel Kim Booster

John Ross Bowie

Josh Bowman

Mac Brandt

Kurt Braunholer

Janicza Bravo

Kevin Brennan

Jordana Brewster

Alison Brie

Connie Britton

Jacqueline Brogan

Amanda Brooks

Sophina Brown

Quinta Brunson

Aynsley Bubbico

Rebecca Rose Bulnes

Joe Burch

Owen Burke

David Burtka

Matt Bush

River Butcher

Michelle Buteau

Megan Byrne

J Smith Cameron

Neve Campbell

James Carpinello

Keith Carradine

Sam Carson

Rafael Casal

Gerardo Celasco

Wyatt Cenac

Chris Chalk

Zoe Chao

Frances Chewning

Jamie Chung

Jessica St Clair

Adelaide Clemens

Glenn Close

Jeremy Cohenour

Lauren Cook

Olivia Cooke

Sarah Cooper

Nesta Cooper

Rob Corddry

Maddie Corman

Tom Costello

Julie Craig

Michael Cram

David Cross

Ashleigh Cummings

Erin Cummings

Tim Daly

Sam Daly

Alexandra Daniels

Brianne Davis

Ariana DeBose

Brooklyn Decker

Kathy Deitch

Majandra Delfino

David DeSantos

Torrey DeVitto

Rosemarie DeWitt

Chris Diamantopoulos

Daveed Diggs

Maria Dizzia

Kether Donohue

Chad Doreck

Fiona Dourif

Paul W. Downs

Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Minnie Driver

Drew Droege

West Duchovny

David Duchovny

Anne Dudek

Merrin Dungey

Katie Duplass

Clea DuVall

Lisa Ebersole

Grace Edwards

Billy Eichner

Hannah Einbinder

Lilah Richcreek

Estrada Bridget

Everett Keith Ewell

JJ Feild

Beanie Feldstein

Bridget Flanery

Brad Fleischer

Caleb Foote

Amanda Foreman

Jimmy Fowlie

Dave Franco

Brendan Fraser

Jena Friedman

Nolan Gerard

Funk Betty Gabriel

Kathryn Gallagher

Peter Gallagher

Noah Galvin

Robert Gant

Mark Gantt

Beau Garrett

Spencer Garrett

Kimmy Gatewood

Drew Gehling

Brett Gelman

Brian Geraghty

Matt Gerald

Tavi Gevinson

Joe Gillette

Eliot Glazer

Ilana Glazer

Michael Godere

Joanna Going

Iddo Goldberg

Bryan Greenberg

Will Greenberg

Anne Gregory

Angela Gulner

Grace Gummer

Jenny Hagel

Josh Hamilton

Chelsea Handler

Taylor Handley

Colin Hanks

Ryan Hansen

Neil Patrick Harris

Jeremy O. Harris

Paul Walter Hauser

Maya Hawke

Pat Healy

Tim Heidecker

Kayleigh Hendricks

John Arthur Hill

Mary Holland

Josh Hopkins

Laura House

Stephen Hu

Rob Huebel

Gary Cairns II

Annie Ilonzeh

Brittany Ishibashi

Abbi Jacobson

Peter Jacobson

Nikki M James

Matthew Jeffers

Sarah Jeffery

Richard Jenkins

Max Jenkins

Avan Jogia

Rebekka Johnson

Brandon Johnson

Lyn Durrel Jones

Amin Joseph

Paget Kagy

Kevin Kane

Jocko SimsKei

Connoe Kelly-Eiding

Riley Keough

Nancy Kim

Helen Kim

Emily Kimball

Joey King

Kristina Klebe

Rich Ceraulo Ko

Anna Konkle

Lindsey Kraft

Nick Kroll

Lauren Lapkus

Ooona Laurence

Jennifer Lawrence

Greta Lee

Andrew Leeds

John Leguizamo

Téa Leoni

Sam Lerner

Dan Levy

Angela Lewis

Laura Linney

Zoe Lister-Jones

Ron Livingston

Eva Longoria

Joe Lotruglio

Jessica Lowe

Natasha Lyonne

Anthony Ma

Nancy Ma

Cornelius Macarthy

Ashley Madekwe

Archie Madekwe

Erikka Makic

Rami Malek

Jena Malone

Jake Martin

Jeanine Mason

Marlee Matlin

Matthew McCarthy

Andy McPhee

Emma Meisel

Mei Melançon

Joshuah Melnick

Chris Messina

Debra Messing

Amber Midthunder

Patina Miller

Blaise Miller

Nina Millin

Jerry Minor

Matthew Scott Montgomery

Janet Montgomery

Lamorne Morris

Brad Morris

Jennifer Morrison

Javier Muñoz

Liam Neeson

Jeffrey R. Newman

Becki Newton

Sydelle Noël

Bob Odenkirk

Rosie O’Donnell

Taryn O’Neill

Leland Orser

Patton Oswalt

Elliot Page

Peter Paige

Adam Pally

Keke Palmer

Teresa Palmer

Robert Paterno

Nasim Pedrad

Gary Perez

Ryan Perez

Busy Phillips

Amy Poehler

Sarah Polley

Parker Posey

Keith Poulson

Daniel Powell

Alyssa Preston

Mark Proksch

Alex Quijano

Zachary Quinto

Courtney Rackley

Sendhil Ramamurthy

Michael Rapaport

June Diane Raphael

Drew Rausch

Emmy Raver-Lampman

Britt Rentschler

Sam Richardson

Tijuana Ricks

Genesis Rodriguez

Will Ropp

Ben Rosenfield

Emmy Rossum

Natasha Rothwell

Allen Theosky Rowe

Kristen Rozanski

Mark Ruffalo

Thomas Sadoski

Meredith Salenger

Jessica Sattelberger

Devon Sawa

Kristen Schaal

Sara Schaeffer

Tom Scharpling

Paul Scheer

Molly Schreiber

Amy Schumer

Kyra Sedgwick

Chlöe Sevigny

Frankie Shaw

Constance Shulman

Gabourey Sidibe

Robbie Silverman

Henry Simmons

Hannah Simone

Timothy Simons

Lexi Simonsen

Jenny Slate

John Slattery

Jimmy Smagula

Jahkara Smith

Jenny Soo

Marina Squerciati

Annie Starke

Riann Steele

Fisher Stevens

Daniel A Stevens

Ben Stiller

Meryl Streep

Brenda Strong

Mickey Sumner

Jeff Sumner

Jessica Szohr

JB Tadena

Amber Tamblyn

Robin Lord Taylor

Christian Telesmar

Nick Thune

Jackie Tohn

Marissa Tomei

Angela Trimbur

Jeanne Tripplehorn

Jonathan Tucker

Emily Vancamp

Mike Vogel

Lena Waithe

David Walton

Rosalie Ward

Lesley Ann Warren

Michaela Watkins

Haley Webb

Mark Webber

Steven Weber

Liza Weil

Chris Wendelken

Nick Westrate

Michelle Williams

Alex Winter

DeWanda Wise

Ellen Wong

Breeda Wool

Constance Wu

Noah Wyle

Travis York

Britney Young

Kelvin Yu

Nora Zehetner

Jenapher Zheng


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