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The Shazam! star’s jokes from a fan event went viral after he called the guild’s restrictions on promoting studio content “so dumb.”
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“It’s come to my attention that an offhand remark I made in jest last weekend is being taken out of context,” Levi said in a statement Friday. “So let me be very clear. I fully support my union, the WGA, and the strike. I remain an outspoken critic of the exploitative system that us artists are subject to work in since I started my journey in this business 25 years ago. This strike is necessary to protect ourselves, our writers, and all those working in production who make the industry move.”
Levi added: “But we also cannot forget our fans during this strike. Fans that spend their money and energy traveling far distances to talk with us about our work that means so much to them, we should be able to engage. Our business exists and succeeds because of the fans, and I think it’s imperative we appreciate them for their support of our careers.”
Appearing at what appeared to be Manchester Comic-Con — which took place in the U.K. late last month — Levi talked about how he couldn’t discuss his work on projects like Chuck, Tangled and the two Shazam! films.
“I’m not allowed to talk about … this is so dumb. I’m not allowed to talk about any of my previous work,” Levi says in the clip. “I’m not allowed to talk about movies that I may be a superhero in. I’m not allowed to talk about TV shows that I may have been a nerd who worked at a Best Buy. I’m not allowed to talk about any animated princess movies that I was fantastic in — as the best prince ever! I’m not allowed to talk about those things.”
While Levi was being lighthearted and seemingly coming from a place of feeling bad about disappointing attending fans, his comments received backlash when they started circulating late Thursday. Some compared Levi to Arrow star Stephen Amell – who recently received backlash for declaring “I don’t support the strike” and calling it a “reductive negotiating tactic” (and then walked his comments back in a statement).
— ⚡️PJ⚡️🌈 (@PJocky82) August 3, 2023
But last month, Levi posted a video on Instagram making a passionate defense of the strike. “[The studio executives] do not care about human life, they don’t care about, really, life in general. They care about profits,” Levi said. “It’s always profit over people and not the other way around. So mark my words, if we don’t do something drastic right now…we’re doing something very drastic, and we need to be doing this very drastic thing. We need to be striking, we should have done this years ago.”
— Abid Rahman contributed to this report
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