ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

George Clooney says entertainment industry is at an ‘inflection point,’ as actors like Jason Sudeikis join picket lines

Jul 15, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

(CNN) — Oscar winner George Clooney has joined the chorus of artists calling for change as acto...

Writers and actors join forces as they walk the picket line during a strike, Friday, July 14, 2023, at NBC Universal Studios in New York. The picketing comes a day after the main actors’ union voted to join screenwriters in a double-barreled strike for the first time in more than six decades. The dispute immediately shut down production across the entertainment industry after talks for a new contract with studios and streaming services broke down. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(CNN) — Oscar winner George Clooney has joined the chorus of artists calling for change as actors like Jason Sudeikis hit the picket lines in their first strike against film and television studios since 1980.

“This is an inflection point in our industry,” Clooney told CNN in a statement on Friday. “Actors and writers in large numbers have lost their ability to make a living. For our industry to survive that has to change. For actors that journey starts now.”

Clooney’s comments come as members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) picked up signs to demonstrate outside film and television studios on both coasts Friday, joining entertainment writers who have been doing just that for over two months.

The SAG-AFTRA strike was officially announced on Thursday.

“Ted Lasso” star (and Emmy nominee) Jason Sudeikis was spotted in New York, where he told CNN to “listen” to the voices of strikers chanting things like, “Hey hey, ho ho corporate greed’s got to go” and “What do we want? Contracts. When do we want ‘em? Now!”

“That says it all,” he remarked.

When asked how long he’d be willing to support the strike, Sudeikis replied, “As long as it takes”

Actors Constance Zimmer, Lisa Edelstein, and SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher were also spotted on picket lines.

Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, stressed to reporters on Friday that the actors’ strike is not a ploy for big name stars to make more money.

“This is a fight for basic fairness. This is fight on behalf of working people. This is not a fight on behalf of huge celebrities,” Crabtree-Ireland said.

Representing a union with 160,000 members, he added that the “vast majority are fighting to pay rent, mortgage, feed their family. This is a working person’s fight.”

The actors join the more than 11,000 member of the WGA who have been on strike against the same studios and streaming services since May 2. That union is striking over many of the same issues as SAG-AFTRA – fair pay, especially with regard to residuals in the age of streaming, and up-to-date protections against the use of AI.

The writers’ strike had already halted production on most films and television shows. The traditional start of the fall television season and the release of several movies planned for next year are now at risk, with fall film festivals unlikely and big-budget productions like “Deadpool 3” grinding to a halt.

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George Clooney says entertainment industry is at an ‘inflection point,’ as actors like Jason Sudeikis join picket lines