Tyler Perry appeared on “CBS Mornings” Tuesday and was asked to speak publicly for the first time about the SAG-AFTRA strike, which remains ongoing after the union responded to the AMPTP’s “best and final” offer by saying the two groups still differ on “several essential items.” Although Perry praised SAG-AFTRA negotiators, he also said the union needs to realize when it’s won “for now.” The media mogul noted that SAG-AFTRA is only negotiating a three-year contract, inferring that it might not be the best strategy to continue prolonging the strike so the union can get everything it wants now when more negotiations are in store in the future.
“Here I am, a studio head and an owner of a streamer, but also understanding how it is for the working actor,” Perry said. “I get what we’re fighting for…I paid Cicely Tyson $1 million for one day of work because when actors get to a certain age they’re pretty much discarded. Taraji P Henson talks about me paying her $500,000 years ago to set her quote. I recently paid two Black women who have been in the business for 25 years $1 million, even when their agents were asking for less than half of that, because I understand the working actor.”
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“But I also understand as we’re looking at all of this…Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and the whole negotiating committee has done a fantastic job moving this forward. They have gotten this way further than anyone thought we could get it,” Perry added. “But it’s really important to know when we’ve won. This is only a three-year deal. In two years [or] two and a half years, we’ll be re-negotiating again. So we have to know when we have won for now. That’s the thing. For now! If I had ran my business trying to get everything at once, I wouldn’t be here. I’ve got as much as I can for now, and let’s see what we can do next.”
As Variety reported earlier in the strike, Perry was among some 15 stars who presented a proposal to SAG-AFTRA leadership in an effort to find a way to resolve the strike. Perry was joined by the likes of George Clooney and Scarlett Johansson, among others. The proposal called for removing the cap on dues in a bid to bring more than $50 million to the union annually and $150 million over three years. The group suggested a bottom-up residual structure whereby top earners would be the last to collect residuals rather than the first. Their pitch found no traction with SAG-AFRTA leadership, sources said at the time.
In a Nov. 6 message to members, SAG-AFTRA said it was working to end the strike “responsibly” but that the two sides still have differences. “There are several essential items on which we still do not have an agreement, including AI,” the union said. “We will keep you informed as events unfold.”
Watch Perry’s full appearance on “CBS Mornings” below.
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