Drew Barrymore this morning posted an emotional apology to WGA members regarding her decision to return to her daytime talk show amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. A number of high-profile actors, writers and organizations responded, most not happy. Barrymore has since removed the apology from her Instagram page.
Alyssa Milano told the AP that, while “I love her very much, this is not the right move,” saying it “impacts the strength of our movement.” She ended by calling it, “Not a great move.”
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"Not a great move."
Alyssa Milano and other Hollywood union members aren't happy with Drew Barrymore for returning to her daytime talk show during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. pic.twitter.com/cnRAg9RLMB
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 15, 2023
Bradley Whitford, who’s been a frequent picketer even beyond West Wing Day, tried sarcasm.
“Drew Barrymore would like you to know that undermining union solidarity at the most crucial moment in Hollywood labor history makes her the victim,” he wrote. “This has been, like, a super tough week for her.”
Drew Barrymore would like you to know that undermining union solidarity at the most crucial moment in Hollywood labor history makes her the victim. This has been, like, a super tough week for her. https://t.co/wtDVor9rKs
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) September 15, 2023
Actor David Krumholtz replied in the comments to Barrymore’s Instagram apology before it was pulled.
“It’s complex for thousands. Who continue to strike and abide by strike rules. Extremely complex,” the Numb3rs actor wrote. “You could shut it down and you’d be considered brave. You’d be forgiven. What makes the strike more complex for thousands of people, is you making a decision that hurts their efforts in trying to achieve a fair deal amidst a cutthroat corporate environment that will use your show as an example of division and disunity.”
Debra Messing also weighed in in the comments on Barrymore’s post writing, “You can choose now to halt production. You can choose to pay your employees like other talk show hosts who have stood in solidarity with the writers. There are thousands of union members jobs and livelihoods that are at stake (exponential more than those who work on your show) and the future of our beloved industry. I hope you will reconsider.”
The WGA issued a statement to Deadline which read,
“Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal,” a guild spokesperson told Deadline today after the ET actress’ video went up. “In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work.”
A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, The Drew Barrymore Show producer and distributor, released a statement in response to WGA, saying they “are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules.” CBS also noted its hosts work under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA that allows Barrymore and other daytime hosts to continue hosting their shows. “While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends,” the statement emphasized, adding “No one on our staff will fill a writing position.” You can read the entire statement at the bottom of the story.
The AFL-CIO, which is about to engage in its own labor action, translated Barrymore’s move to the auto industry.
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