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Barack Obama Says Striking Writers Deserve “Fair Share” From Studios & Streamers; Ex-POTUS Promoting Netflix ‘Working’ Docuseries

The Writers Guild of America is getting even more Oval Office support.

First it was Joe Biden, and now Barack Obama has offered backing to striking scribes — again

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Expanding on comments he made online back on May 17 when his Working: What We Do All Day docuseries on Netflix, the 44th POTUS started off a livestream sit-down with Ira Glass by reading a prepared statement on the WGA Strike that started on May 2.

Credit: Netflix
Credit: Netflix

In that thoughtful manner that exemplified his two-terms in the White House, President Obama today said:

Part of what this show Working is about is how certain things are constant about the work experience. People trying to find work that’s satisfying, people trying to pay the bills.

Unfortunately, one of the things that’s also been constant is the struggle for people to make sure their employers are treating them fairly and they’re getting a fair share of the pie. I think what we’ve seen throughout American history is that unions and worker organizations have had to make demands on their employers, those that are controlling whatever industry they’re in, to make sure they’re treated fairly, and entertainment is no exception.

My hope would be that in a time of big technological change, where you’ve got big mega corporations that are doing really well, that they keep in mind the creative people who are actually making the product that consumers appreciate and that gets exported all around the world.

I know there are many studios and streamers who feel a little bit embattled and there’s been a little bit too much of a glut of product and they’re looking at their bottom line and their experiencing shareholder pressure, etc, but the fact is, is that they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for writers creating the stories that matter.

My hope is that as somebody who’s really supportive of the Writer’s Guild and as someone who just believes in storytelling and the craft of it, I’m hoping that they will be compensated and the importance of what they do will be reflected in whatever settlement’s arrived at. I’m very supportive of the writers and the strike and I’m hopeful that they get a fair share of the fruits of their labor.

The words from the former President come in no small part from a personal connection as well as political conviction.

He and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s eldest daughter Malia was a writer on the Donald Glover and Janine Nabers created Swarm, which is on Amazon Prime Video. Atlanta creator Glover’s Gilga production company is now producing a short film by Malia Obama

The elder Obama was joined Thursday afternoon in the LinkedIn discussion by Working director Caroline Suh. Randi Williams, Luke Starcher, and Karthik Lakshmanan, all of whom are featured in the four-episode Studs Terkel inspired series, were also on board to chat with That American Life host Glass.

Similar to last year’s Our Great National Parks series, Working is narrated by President Obama, The former Commander-in-chief and community organizer shows up frequently in the workforce series with subjects like Williams, Strarcher and Lakshamanan.

Executive produced by Barack and Michelle Obama and directed by Suh, Working: What We Do All Day is produced by the former First Couple’s Higher Ground production company and Concordia Studios.

Talks between the WGA and studios reps the AMPTP broke down on May 1 and the scribes went on strike the next day after their last contract expired. The AMPTP has been in negotiations with the Directors Guild since May 10. The DGA contact expires on June 30.

Just a few days after the strike started, current Oval Office occupant Joe Biden was more succinct but passionate in his backing of the WGA. “I sincerely hope the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved, and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible,” the union backing POTUS said on May 8 at a White House screening of the Disney+ series American Born Chinese.

“This is an iconic, meaningful American industry, and we need the writers and all the workers and everyone involved to tell the stories of our nation, the stories of all of us,” the President added.

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