On Thursday, Screen Actors Guild President Fran Drescher criticized what she called the "egregious and disgusting" offer from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The President of SAG-AFTRA and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree held a press conference to announce the union would join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a historic double strike.
The chief issue at stake is the potential for filmmakers to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recreate actors' likeness without their permission or paying them. Crabtree explained that the AMPTP made a "groundbreaking AI offer" that proposes that background performers would be paid for just one day of work and the company owning the scan of their image and likeness would have the right to use it for any future project without compensation or consent.
Drescher vehemently disagreed with the AMPTP's offer and condemned it. "What was historic about it is that we were really so marginalized, so dishonored and so disrespected that it was really egregious and disgusting!" she exclaimed, adding that the deal was a proposal to "disembowel the industry that we once knew."
The union and the producers have been in negotiations for over six months and the situation has reached a critical point. The producers' last offer was considered regressive and led to the union's decision to move forward with a strike on Monday.
Insiders say the double strike, combined with SAG-AFTRA’s other requests for changes to the collective bargaining agreement, creates an environment that could significantly reshape Hollywood’s labor landscape. Actors are hoping for a partnership with producers that provides them with the same rights and respect that writers and other industry professionals enjoy in order to ensure a safe and equitable working environment for everyone.
For now, further negotiations have been halted and actors and producers are in a waiting game. The sides are not expected back at the negotiating table until after the November elections. With the strike set to begin on Monday, many in the industry are starting to wonder just how long it will last.