WGA West President: ‘Definitely Some Anger’ Over Bill Maher’s Decision to Resume Talk Show (Video)

“We’re exercising our power by withholding our work, and he should be doing the same,” Meredith Stiehm tells CNN’s Jake Tapper

WGA West President Meredith Stiehm

WGA West president Meredith Stiehm is more upset with Bill Maher for resuming production without his writers on his HBO “Real Time” series than she is about similar moves from fellow talk-show hosts Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Hudson.

“There’s a distinction between Bill Maher and the others because he is a Writers Guild member,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday. “He is a Writers Guild member and he’s going back to work. So, yes, a lot of people are saying that’s scabbing.”

Talk-show hosts are under a different contract than other WGA members and are not actively on strike. But most of these shows shut down in May anyway in solidarity with striking writers. The actors’ strike, which began in July and prevents guild members from promoting their work, also dried up the pool of potential guests.

“There are other hosts of shows that are taking care of their staffs by paying for them themselves,” Stiehm continued. “We’re all worried about our crews and the ripple effect that the work stoppage has created, but there’s definitely some anger that he’s doing that.”

Maher announced his return to work on Wednesday, saying that he wanted to support his non-writing staff who are “struggling” financially as the strike stretches into its fourth month.

“We are all suffering a lot because of this work stoppage. Someone like Bill Maher he can sustain himself better than most during a struggle like this, and yet, we’re a union, this is the leverage that we have. We’re exercising our power by withholding our work, and he should be doing the same,” Stiehm said.

Striking writers on social media have not been shy in calling Maher a scab for crossing the picket lines. The WGA issued a statement saying that his decision to open up shop again is “disappointing,” and they they planned to picket the Television City studios where his show tapes in Los Angeles.

Among those echoing Stiehm’s sentiments is NY representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who backed the UPS workers who went on strike earlier this year. “I don’t support people who cross picket lines,” she told The Independent on Thursday.

The Talk” also resumed production on Wednesday, and was duly picketed.