Public largely sided with WGA
A tentative deal has been reached between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and studio representatives in a sign that the monthslong strike is over. The proposed three-year contract, at press time, still awaiting ratification by the 11,500 WGA members, would boost pay rates and residual payments for streaming shows and impose new rules surrounding the use of artificial intelligence.
“After a nearly five-monthslong strike, I am grateful that the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a fair agreement and I’m hopeful that the same can happen soon with the Screen Actors Guild,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “This historic strike impacted so many across Los Angeles and across the nation. Now, we must focus on getting the entertainment industry, and all the small businesses that depend on it, back on their feet and stronger than ever before.”
A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs research revealed that public support (55% of adults surveyed) for striking Hollywood actors and writers was reportedly broad, but not necessarily deep enough for most people to change their viewing habits, a new poll finds.
Half of Americans (50%) approve of writers and actors striking, while 40% are neutral on the topic, and 9% disapprove.
The more people said they had heard about the strike, the more likely they were to favor it. About six in 10 Americans have heard “a lot” or “some” about the labor strikes of writers and actors against Hollywood studios. People who have heard “a lot” or “some” about the strike are more likely than those who have heard less to approve (63% vs. 29%).
About a quarter (24%) of U.S. adults do not sympathize with either the writers and actors or the studios, and 18% are split between the sides.
Overall sympathy toward the writers and actors runs much more strongly among Democrats (70%), than Independents (47%) and Republicans (39%). Republicans (35%) are more likely than Democrats (15%) to say they sympathize with neither side.
When the questions move beyond approval toward potential actions favoring the strike, the support gets considerably softer.
One-third considered boycotting TV shows, while even more (41%) would not. Slightly fewer (27%) said they would consider canceling streaming services, while 44% said they would not. Three in 10 Americans also said they would consider boycotting movie theaters, while 34% would not. The unions have yet to ask for any of these moves from consumers, though have said they might if the standoffs last long enough.
The poll was conducted Sept. 7-11, as the Hollywood protests over pay and work protections stretched into their fifth month for writers and third month for actors. The Writers Guild of America has restarted negotiations with the alliance of studios and streaming services they’re striking against. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists are waiting in the wings.
While actors are usually the ones getting public adulation, many more think writers deserve a pay bump than they do actors.
A majority of Americans (56%) say it would be a good thing for screenwriters to be paid more, but only 38% say the same about actors’ compensation. Americans under 45 are more likely than older adults to call higher wages for actors a good thing (44% vs. 32%), but they are similarly likely to see higher pay for screenwriters favorably.
Along with compensation and job security, an issue at the center of both strikes was the use of artificial intelligence, or AI, in the creation of entertainment, and who will control it.
The poll showed that young people may actually be even more wary of the emerging technology than older adults. Americans under 45 years old are more likely than those 45 years and older to say it would be good for studios to be prevented from replacing human writers with artificial intelligence (55% vs. 42%).