Arrow star Stephen Amell recently shared his thoughts about the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike during an appearance at Galaxycon in North Carolina.
Amell was asked a question about the ongoing strike during a Q&A.
He answered, “I feel like I’m insulated in Hollywood, uh, ’cause that’s where I live. I truly live in Hollywood, like all the stereotypes that exist. so I feel like a lot of people in this room aren’t aware of the strike.”
After a brief pause he said, “I support my union, I do, and I stand with them, but I do not support striking, I don’t. I think it is a reductive negotiating tactic.”
He continued, “And I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. And I think the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on [Heels], that premiered last night, I think it’s myopic. And I, uh, stand with my union.”
Amell’s comments were met with vitriol by his former co-stars in the Arrowverse. Matt Letscher, who played Eobard Thawn and Reverse-Flash tweeted, ” Still waiting on that comprehensive list of totally non-reductive negotiating tactics we get to employ now. Thank god for superheroes! Any second now…. #SAGAFTRAstrike #SAGAFTRAstrong“
Kirk Acevedo, who played Ricardo Diaz on Arrow, responded to coverage of Amell’s comments in The Hollywood Reporter writing, “This f***ing guy.”
The SAG-AFTRA union went on strike on July 14, 2023. They joined the Writers Guild of America who went on strike on May 2, 2023.
However, SAG-AFTRA has also carved out a bunch of exceptions. In a statement shared to the union’s website on July 30th, they noted that some members had the option to apply for an Interim Agreement.
They explained “the Interim Agreement gives many of our journeyman performers and crews the opportunity to pay their rent and feed their families. This approach maintains our strength, solidarity and upper hand with the AMPTP until they yield to the deal we deserve.”
“This Interim Agreement was created for several reasons, all of which are aimed at protecting the interests of our members, helping them successfully navigate the strike and demonstrating to the AMPTP that other producers are eager to work with our members under these terms,” SAG-AFTRA elaborated.
They also noted, “Working with these independent producers proves that the wage increases and other terms, which the AMPTP has so far rejected, are in fact reasonable and appropriate.”
“The Interim Agreement encourages production budgets to be directed to union-covered projects employing union members rather than fueling a pipeline of non-union foreign productions,” the union detailed.
SAG-AFTRA also asserted, “If the AMPTP continues to refuse to bargain, our strategy denies them the ability to freely make their own original productions, allowing everyone other than the AMPTP to produce content with our members.”
This tactic appears to be in response to comments made by an unnamed executive to Deadline that the AMPTP planned “to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”
However, a statement from an AMPTP spokesman rejected this assertion, “These anonymous people are not speaking on behalf of the AMPTP or member companies, who are committed to reaching a deal and getting our industry back to work.”
Depending on how long the strikes last, analysts predict it could doom the entire film and TV production industry. Former Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox CEO Barry Diller warned on CBS’ Face the Nation, “What will happen is, if in fact it doesn’t get settled to Christmas or so, then next year there’s not going to be many programs for anybody to watch. So you’re going to see subscriptions get pulled, which is going to reduce the revenue of all these movie companies, television companies. The result of which is that there will be no programs.”
“And at just the time [the] strike is settled that you want to gear back up there won’t be enough money,” he added.
He later shared, “The only other thing I would do, I would call for a September 1st deadline. There’s a strike deadline. I think there should be a settlement deadline because unless it happens by September 1st, the actions- And, of course, who cares about Hollywood, who cares about it. But the truth is this is a huge business both domestically and for world export … but these conditions will produce an absolute collapse of an entire industry.”
What do you make of Amell’s comments and the reactions he’s received from his fellow actors?