Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined the hordes of people condemning talk show hosts Bill Maher and Drew Barrymore for resuming production on their series despite the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
“‘I don’t support people who break picket lines,” Ocasio-Cortez told British outlet The Independent on Thursday. She has previously joined striking writers and actors on the picket lines in New York.
Maher’s decision to go back on the air without his writing staff was condemned by the WGA as “disappointing.” The guild announced they will be picketing his show “Real Time,” which tapes at Television City studio lot in Los Angeles.
Barrymore, meanwhile, was dropped as the host of the National Book Awards after her announcement and her show, which is filmed at CBS Broadcast Center in New York, has also been picketed by some of her own staff.
Ocasio-Cortez has been an outspoken union advocate, speaking earlier this summer in support of UPS drivers who approved a new contract after walking off the job in July, as well as supporting the United Automobile Workers union, which is poised to go on strike Thursday night if a new contract is not settled on by the midnight deadline.
Cristina Kinon, who is co-head writer of “The Drew Barrymore Show,” told The Daily Beast on Thursday, “I would love to see the show stand in solidarity with us, and it’s not too late… Unions only work when you stick together with unions across the labor spectrum.”
She continued, “Now, there’s word that maybe some other shows are coming back. So it is frustrating, because it will prolong the strike, and we just want it to end.”
Maher has claimed that he will be honoring the spirit of the strike by not writing a monologue or his trademark “New Rules” segment.
“If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike,’” the WGA’s statement shared to X read. “As a WGA member, Bill Maher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how [‘Real Time’] can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place.”
Talk show hosts are under a different contract than other actors, so they are not currently on strike. However, the WGA considers any writing work done during the strike, which began on May 2, to be “struck work.”
“The Talk” resumed production on Wedensday and has also been picketed at Radford Studios (aka CBS Studio Center) in Studio City.