Barack Obama on Thursday expressed his support for the Writers Guild of America as their strike nears its second month. At the start of a LinkedIn livestream event promoting his new Netflix docuseries “Working: What We Do All Day,” the former president spoke of the importance of writers in the entertainment industry.
“I know there are many studios and streamers who feel a little bit embattled and there’s been a little bit too much of a glut of product and they’re looking at their bottom line and their experiencing shareholder pressure, etc, but the fact is, is that they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for writers creating the stories that matter,” Obama said to host Ira Glass.
“My hope is that as somebody who’s really supportive of the Writer’s Guild and as someone who just believes in storytelling and the craft of it,” Obama continued, “I’m hoping that they will be compensated and the importance of what they do will be reflected in whatever settlement’s arrived at. I’m very supportive of the writers and the strike and I’m hopeful that they get a fair share of the fruits of their labor.”
Obama’s statements echo those of his former Vice President Joe Biden, who earlier this month said he hopes the WGA receives “a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
Now entering its 24th day, the strike has continued to halt production in Hollywood. No talks between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have been scheduled, with some anticipating the strike will continue until at least July.
The WGA is seeking higher pay for writers, along with requirements for minimum staffing and duration of employment. It also requested contingencies limiting the use of artificial intelligence to create scripts. The AMPTP rejected these requests without a counteroffer, leading to a breakdown of talks on May 2.
Obama has familial ties to the entertainment industry, as his daughter Malia worked as a writer for the Prime Video series “Swarm.”
For all of TheWrap’s WGA strike coverage, click here.