Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
A group of 300 A-list Hollywood celebrities—including Ben Stiller, “Hunger Games” Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Liam Neeson, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus—is threatening to take industrial action if their demands on key issues are not met.
They include better protection against artificial intelligence (AI) celebrity cloning, a “seismic realignment” in minimum pay, an increase in media residuals, and better health and pension terms.
The celebrities submitted a letter on June 28 to the Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) stating their claims.
“As regards [to] artificial intelligence, we do not believe that SAG-AFTRA members can afford to make halfway gains in anticipation that more will be coming in three years, and we think it is absolutely vital that this negotiation protects not just our likenesses, but makes sure we are well compensated when any of our work is used to train AI,” the actors wrote.
The letter, which was provided to The Epoch Times by a union member, comes just days before the June 30 deadline for SAG-AFTRA to negotiate a new contract for the actors with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
It also comes amid the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike against the alliance. Like the actors, the guild has also cited concerns about the infringement of artificial intelligence on the industry and consequently their pay.
SAG-AFTRA—including its executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, and president Fran Drescher, famous for her role on the 1980’s sitcom “The Nanny”—did not respond to inquiries about the strikes from The Epoch Times.
Days before the actors submitted their letter to them, Crabtree-Ireland and Drescher released a video in which they assure actors that they were being properly represented in contract renewal talks.
“We’re not providing you with a lot of detailed reports tonight, because … it’s very confidential what’s going on in there,” said Drescher. “But I just want to assure you that we are having extremely productive negotiations that are laser-focused on all the crucial issues that you told us were most important to you.
“And we are standing strong and we are going to achieve a seminal deal.”
Crabtree-Ireland said he remained optimistic that the union negotiating team “will be able to bring the studios, networks, and streamers along to make a fair deal that respects union members and their “contribution to this industry.”
In their letters, the actors said they felt otherwise.
“A strike brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it,” read the letter addressed to the union leadership and negotiating committee. “But we are prepared to strike if it comes to that. And we are concerned by the idea that SAG-AFTRA members may be ready to make sacrifices that leadership is not.”
Other well-known celebrities threatening to strike include Brendan Fraser, Maya Hawke, Lesley Ann Warren, Marisa Tomei, Rosie O’Donnell, Neil Patrick Harris, Tea Leoni, Glenn Close, Jane Fonda, Minnie Driver, Tim Daly, Debra Messing, Eva Longoria, Quinta Brunson, Dave Franco, Noah Wyle, and J. Smith Cameron.
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