An ongoing labor dispute between SAG-AFTRA, the prominent Hollywood actors’ union, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), has led to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Approved by the SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors, the strike began on July 14, 2023, and has become a central focus in the realm of Hollywood labor disputes.
This strike holds historical significance as it marks the first instance of actors initiating a labor dispute since the 1980 actors strike. Additionally, it is the first time in over six decades that actors and writers have simultaneously walked out, echoing the 1960 labor dispute. The 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, along with the ongoing Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, has caused the most significant disruption to the American television and film industries since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Hollywood actors are going on strike after talks with studios broke down, joining film and television writers who have been on picket lines since May.
Fran Drescher, the president of the US actors’ union, says its walkout will impact “thousands if not millions of people”.
Reasons behind the Actors’ Strike and Their Demands
The actors are engaging in a strike primarily to address two crucial concerns: securing higher compensation and establishing safeguards against unauthorized utilization of their likenesses through artificial intelligence (AI).
Actors perceive their profession as particularly susceptible to the advancements of new technology, as generative AI has the capability to replicate facial expressions, body movements, and voices with disconcerting precision. This raises concerns about potential misuse of their images without consent.
Consequently, the actors are striving to negotiate for improved remuneration to reflect their contributions and the unique challenges they face in an era where AI can recreate their performances. They also aim to establish comprehensive measures that protect their rights and provide clear boundaries against the unauthorized use of their identities through AI technology.