Colin Farrell, Mariska Hargitay, Danny Strong, Paula Pell, Rachel Dratch, Michael Kelly and Craig Zobel were among the stars who came out to the writers strike picket line outside Paramount Global’s New York City office in Times Square Thursday.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D.-N.Y., and local politicians spoke at the event in support of the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) cause against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) that has led to a four-week-and-counting work stoppage due to the organizations’ inability to ink a new contract May 1.
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“This is about what’s right. We’ve seen income inequality grow exponentially over the last decade; and in your business, it has never been more present,” Gillibrand said to the crowd, filled with not only WGA members, but also those from SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters, among other unions. “We see writers working hard every day to produce content and we have an unfair playing field. Not only does AI want to displace our writers, they simply can’t. AI generates content based on what’s been written before the work you did last year, and the year before. It’s not original. It’s not imaginative. It doesn’t come from the human heart. It’s not about a human experience. It’s not about what people actually want to learn about or know about or see or experience. That is what writers bring to the equation every single time. So this strike is so important for the future of this country. It’s about the value of workers; workers and what they create is fundamentally valuable.”
Hargitay, Strong, Pell, Dratch and Zobel and WGA East president Michael Winship all took the stage as well to rally support for the writers. Some reiterated Gillibrand’s points against the use of AI during their speeches. Dratch delivered remarks she joked were written by AI, while others stuck to straightforward messages about how nothing gets done in Hollywood without writers.
“I’m so honored to stand here in solidarity with the writers, wearing my WGA captain hat. And I’ve been your captain for 25 years on ‘SVU’ and I could not have done it without the writers,” “Law & Order: SVU” star and SAG-AFTRA member Hargitay said. “Every word out of my mouth for 25 years. So I stand here and say, let’s get this done.”
Following the speeches, the picketing began, and Farrell spoke off stage about his thoughts on the strike. “Writers are everything to us,” “The Penguin” star and SAG-AFTRA member said. Farrell adds that we knows the studios and writers will eventually reach an agreement, “because the stare down going on is so fucking boring,” and calls the ongoing work stoppage “a testament to the arrogance of those at the top that these people are now out of work and can’t because they are doing the right thing.”
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