WGA Claps Back at Ted Sarandos’ Criticism of SAG-AFTRA Residuals Ask: ‘Writer Issues Are Not the Same as Actor Issues’

The response from the union comes after talks between studios and the actors guild were suspended on Wednesday

A man with light-toned skin and gray hair stands in front of a wrought iron fence with a NETFLIX logo behind him.
Ted Sarandos (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

The Writers Guild of America called out Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos over his criticism of SAG-AFTRA’s residual request amid the union’s now-suspended contract negotiations with the AMPTP.

“That issue that we got resolved with the writers was not only accepted in the deal, but ratified by a 99 percent vote of the Writers Guild,” the union wrote, quoting Sarandos in a quoted retweet on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday.

The guild went on to snap at Sarandos for comparing the issues actors are hoping to resolve with the items writers did Monday with the ratification of their new deal.

“Sorry, Ted. Writer issues are not the same as actor issues,” the WGA wrote to Sarandos, who is one of the four executives participating in the negotiations alongside Donna Langley (CCO if Universal Pictures), Bob Iger (CEO of Disney) and David Zaslav (CEO of Warner Bros.)

The guild made the comment in connection to an article written by The Hollywood Reporter, that was published on Thursday. In it, the outlet reported on Sarandos’ remarks about the Wednesday’s failed talks between SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood studios, highlighting his disagreement with the union proposing an additional “levy” be placed on every streaming subscriber.

“That was rejected and the counter was this levy on every subscriber, and prior to that was a levy on all revenue, where basically the union will take a certain amount of money for every subscriber to a service,” Sarandos reportedly said.

“That issue that we got resolved with the writers was not only accepted in the deal, but ratified by a 99 percent vote of the Writers Guild. So I know that all these guilds are not created equal and they all have different needs and more bespoke needs, but like I said that is one that worked, that rewarded success, which we agreed with. But a levy on top of our revenue or per subscriber, with no insight into the revenue per subscriber or anything, that just felt like a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiation,” Sarandos continued reportedly.

As of now, conversation between the two parties have seized, with the AMPTP releasing a notice that the “gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great.”

The studios said SAG-AFTRA’s current offer included a “viewership bonus” that would cost more than $800 million per year — “which would create an untenable economic burden. SAG-AFTRA presented few, if any, moves on the numerous remaining open items.”

In its own statement released to members and published on social media, SAG-AFTRA said that the AMPTP was using “bully tactics” and “intentionally misrepresented” the cost of the guild’s proposal, overestimating its cost by 60%.”

For now, actors will still be at the picket lines.

“We feel the pain these companies have inflicted on our members, our strike captains, IATSE, Teamsters and Basic Crafts union members, and everyone in this industry. We have sacrificed too much to capitulate to their stonewalling and greed. We stand united and ready to negotiate today, tomorrow, and every day,” SAG-AFTRA said.


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