At a White House event on Monday, President Joe Biden expressed support for Hollywood writers in their ongoing strike, saying in part that he hopes they receive “a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
Biden’s comments came after a special screening of the upcoming Disney+ series “American Born Chinese,” held to honor Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“Nights like these are a reminder of stories and the importance of treating storytellers with the dignity, respect and the value they deserve. I sincerely hope the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible,” Biden said.
“This is an iconic, meaningful American industry. And we need the writers and all the workers and everyone involved to tell the stories of our nation and the stories of all of us,” POTUS added.
Watch Biden’s remarks on the writers’ strike below.
The writers’ strike, now in its second week, began May 2 when talks between the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down as their previous deal expired.
The guild is fighting back against what it says is an emerging “gig economy” in Hollywood, with writers on even successful and acclaimed shows struggling to make ends meet. As one example of the problem, the guild cites “The Bear” writer Alex O’Keefe, who says when the show was nominated for a WGA award, he attended the ceremony with a negative bank balance.
WGA is of course seeking to secure higher compensation, and the guild has contrasted the sky-high pay earned by streaming service bosses in particular with the decreasing pay and job security writers are experiencing. But writers are also demanding codification of writing rooms. Among their asks, they want requirements for minimum staffing and duration of employment.
AMPTP rejected these proposals unilaterally and didn’t bother with a counteroffer. AMPTP spokespersons have pointed to TV shows like HBO’s “The White Lotus,” which is solely written by series creator Mike White, as a reason to reject minimum staffing requirements. Guild demands, the group says, amount to “a one-size-fits-all solution to shows that are unique and different in their approach to creative staffing.”
Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, “American Born Chinese” stars Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu, along with Ben Wang, Yeo Yann Yann, Chin Han, Daniel Wu, Jimmy Liu and Sydney Taylor. It premieres May 24 on Disney+.
Click here for all of TheWrap’s WGA Strike coverage.