SAG-AFTRA Lays Out Strike Rules: No Shoots, No Press, No Social Media Promos

Actors union has notified publicists of what is expected should a strike be called on Wednesday night

SAG-AFTRA Strike Signs
SAG-AFTRA members prepare picket line signs for a potential strike (Credit: Twitter/SAG-AFTRA)

With less than 48 hours to go until the negotiation deadline, SAG-AFTRA has held a meeting with Hollywood publicists to discuss how a potential strike, which may be called on Wednesday night, will affect them and their clients who are members of the actors guild.

Two individuals with knowledge of the talks tell TheWrap that some key elements of SAG-AFTRA’s forthcoming strike rules were discussed. Along with stepping away from all film and television productions worldwide, actors will not be permitted to take part in promotional work of any kind, including press junkets, film premieres, and fan events like San Diego Comic-Con.

Actors are permitted to attend the pop culture convention as long as they don’t take part in any panels that promote a specific film or television show or discuss any current or future work. While attendance is allowed, individuals with knowledge of the publicist meeting tell TheWrap that SAG-AFTRA would prefer that its members completely skip the event later this month.

Sources also say that SAG-AFTRA has informed publicists that any scheduled press or acting work after a strike is ordered must be cancelled. SAG-AFTRA members are also not permitted to promote any work on social media, as that is considered publicity.

Hollywood studios have already held press junkets ahead of the strike deadline for several films coming out in July and August, such as Warner Bros.’ “Barbie” and Sony Pictures’ “Gran Turismo.” SAG-AFTRA is asking publicists to include a disclaimer on any pre-deadline junkets that they were recorded beforehand, and the union will be reaching out to those who are possibly breaching these rules.

Exceptions may be given to independent productions that agree to terms with SAG-AFTRA on an interim basis, but these productions must be truly independent, meaning that they do not have a studio or streamer that is a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) attached as producers or distributors.

On June 24, SAG-AFTRA leaders released a video expressing optimism about the state of talks with the AMPTP on a new contract with studios. This video, along with the extension of the negotiation deadline from June 30 to July 12 similar to past negotiation cycles in 2014 and 2017, seemed to signal that the two sides were on course for a deal.

But sources with knowledge of the talks tell TheWrap that several sticking points still remained in the final days of talks, including regarding streaming residuals. Prior to the start of negotiations, SAG-AFTRA members pushed for a new residual system based on viewership data, something that streamers have kept confidential from creators.

While the Directors Guild of America negotiated a significant residual increase in its recently ratified contract, viewership was not accounted for in that new compensation structure. Both SAG-AFTRA and the striking Writers Guild of America have said that they would not remain beholden to the DGA’s terms in their own negotiations.