SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher urged actors to stay strong in their fight against the Hollywood studios at a SAG-AFTRA strike rally on Wednesday outside Paramount Studios.
“Do not give up because this is the moment that is going to change the future,” she told the crowd of thousands of writers and actors and supporters, who chanted, “One day longer, one day stronger” as they marched over from Netflix HQ.
The newly reelected guild official thanked SAG-AFTRA members for “this amazing turnout and your strength and your solidarity.”
“Your resolve is going to get us to the other side of this,” Drescher added. “This is history in the making right now.”
“I know that this strike is not easy. In fact, it’s hard, it’s very hard. And with the passing of time, it’s going to even get harder,” Drescher, who was reelected to her leadership position at SAG-AFTRA on Sept. 8, said.
“But the reason why we have the largest strike authorization vote in our history is because we stand at an inflection point… This growing greed of the conglomerates is cannibalizing other businesses to become more and more powerful, and more and more connected to Wall Street,” she said.
The actress signed off with, “Generations from now, they’re going to be talking about us right here. We will be the ones credited for having made that paradigm shift,” adding that the guilds’ demands were for not only a better contract but for “respect.”
After she handed over the mic, the crowd chanted, “Fran! Fran! Fran!,” and enthusiastically waved their strike signs.
Ahead of the march, former “ER” star Noah Wyle told TheWrap that the mood among actors is getting “angrier and more desperate.” Despite the guilds’ advocacy for interim waivers for independent productions, he said, “If we don’t all eat, none of us should be eating, right? We should all be out [on the picket line] saying, ‘This is what a work stoppage looks like.’ It sends a very fragmented message to the consumer.”
After the rally, actress Cassandra Creech, who is Emmy-nominated for a guest appearance on “The Bold and the Beautiful,” said she was “encouraged” by the day’s speeches, especially in light of the somewhat “lackluster” pre-strike SAG leadership.
Joely Fisher, who was also reelected as the guild’s secretary and treasurer, also addressed the crowd after singing a rousing cover of The Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It to the Streets” on the stage set up for the occasion. Frances Fisher, who is on the union’s negotiating committee, also spoke.
Melrose Ave. was shut down from Gower to Van Ness for the massive rally, which began at Netflix on Sunset Blvd. and marched to Paramount beginning at 9 a.m. All other L.A.-area picket locations were canceled for the day.