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Sep
2023
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Strike Update: WGA to Meet With Showrunners Friday; Plus: Jennifer Aniston Spiked for a Like?

As the writers strike forges ahead into its 20th week, the word that is front of mind is solidarity. Hundreds of showrunners united in a show of support at Fox in Los Angeles. In a notable positive step forward, “some of the television industry’s top creators are set to meet with the Writers Guild of America’s top leadership Friday for a high-level status update on where negotiations stand,” according to THR.

Kenya Barris (Black-ish), Noah Hawley (Fargo) and Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) are among a small contingent who pursued a meeting with the WGA negotiating committee co-chair Chris Keyser and other union officials. The goal of the meeting? “To help and support the WGA in securing a new Minimum Basic Agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios and streamers,” according to THR.

So could negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP resume sooner than later after unraveling last month? One showrunner shared with THR: “There’s a deal to be made … [The AMPTP] is in disagreement internally about what they’re willing to compromise on. We know what we’re willing to compromise on but we haven’t gotten into that because they countered once in 130 days. That’s not an act of negotiation. Everybody on negotiating committee feels the weight of the entire business on them right now. It’s not just WGA, it’s SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, support staff, catering companies and restaurants … Most writers are having a hard time, not just financially. We all thought this would be over by Labor Day.”

Et Tu, Jennifer Aniston?

Can a celebrity catch ire for simply “liking” a post? Yes they can. Everyone is well aware of the onslaught of negative publicity, angry protests, a prestigious awards show rejection and accusations of being a “scab” facing talk show host and union actor Drew Barrymore, after she decided to resume production on her eponymous TV show this past Monday as the Hollywood writers strike enters its fourth month.

But there is a new celebrity being called out. Friends fave Jennifer Aniston is facing scrutiny for liking Barrymore’s incendiary Instagram post Sunday, in which the movie-star-turned-daytime TV host explained her controversial reasons for resuming filming for her show’s fourth season.

To recap, Barrymore’s verbose post declared:

I made a choice to walk away from the MTV, film and television awards because I was the host and it had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television. It was also in the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers. And to be clear, our talk show actually wrapped on April 20th so we never had to shut down the show. However, I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me. I own this choice. We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility.

“V(ery) interesting which celebs liked Drew Barrymore’s scabbing Insta post,” British voice actor Rebecca Norfolk said on Twitter. Her screen grab of Barrymore’s likes showed that the host initially received a thumbs up from Aniston, as well as fellow famous folx Jennifer Garner, Kristen Bell, Cara Delevingne and Lily Collins. Garner and Bell eventually removed their respective likes from the post. Aniston… not so much.

“I love Drew Barrymore. I think she’s dazzling,” Norfolk declared. “But… I hope she changes her mind on this one.”

Check back here at SCREEN for the latest news as WGA and SAG-AFTRA forge ahead. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

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