While many SAG-AFTRA members appreciate George Clooney’s $50 million suggestion that he and other A-listers cover the union dues of lower-earning actors as a way to resolve the actors’ strike, some felt it was irrelevant at best and, at worst, “a bit of union-busting.” They said he could make a much bigger impact by showing up at a picket line.
“I think that the idea of raising the caps for that level of entertainer is an incredible idea. I totally agree with it,” said “Two Broke Girls” actress Alexandra Ryan on the picket line at Paramount Studios on Monday.
However, she added, “I think that it’s a sidestep to what we’re trying to do right now. And I also think that there’s a bit of inadvertent union-busting to the proposal. I don’t agree with that piece of it.”
Critics of Clooney’s suggestion argue that it would take pressure off the studios to divvy up their streaming revenue and, as Ryan phrased it, “inadvertently” reduce the guild’s power to negotiate with the AMPTP.
“Yes, the cap would be amazing in support of our union and in support of our pension in-house,” Ryan said. Echoing SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher’s “apples and oranges” dismissal of the dues suggestion, she added, “but it doesn’t actually have anything to do with our residuals.”
“I love [the way that ] Fran really put it,” Brendan Bradley, video game voice actor and regular on “Wizards of Waverly Place,” said. “They are great proposals, but really what we could use is the solidarity of having those A-listers out here on the line turning up and turning out because we’re close to getting this deal done. And at the end of the day, it’s all about that rank and file, the people that want to be on set with you.”
Watch the video interview with “Criminal Minds” star Kirsten Vangsness and fellow actors Amir Talai, Yuri Lowenthal, Tara Platt and Brendan Bradley above.
Amir Talai, a voice actor on “American Dad!” and “Family Guy,” thanked Clooney and called the idea “fantastic” and “very necessary,” but said, “It doesn’t really have anything to do with the contract.”
“I’ll tell you what, George, I know you’re a busy guy and everything, but it’d be great to see you come down here sometime,” said Yuri Lowenthal, who voices Pater Parker in Marvel’s “Spider-Man 2” video game.
“Show up for a little bit,” Lowenthal added. “I think it would really do everybody a lot of good and give people a lot of strength and inspiration to see you all down here.”
SAG-AFTRA negotiators are meeting with AMPTP again on Tuesday after the studios walked away from talks nearly two weeks ago. SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland told TheWrap that the studios’ rejection of a proposed 57¢ per streaming subscriber fee was “inexplicable.”
For all of TheWrap’s Hollywood strike coverage, click here.