December 9, 2023

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Hollywood representatives disagree with studios’ ‘final’ proposal

Hollywood representatives disagree with studios’ ‘final’ proposal

Los Angeles (AFP) – Hollywood actors, who have been on strike since July, said Monday they disagreed on points such as the mention of artificial intelligence in the studios’ “last, best and final” proposal.

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“There are many key points on which we have not yet reached agreement, including artificial intelligence,” the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) said in a statement on Monday.

The union, which represents about 160,000 artists, from extras to movie stars, said it was “determined to secure the correct agreement and thus end this strike responsibly.”

The studios, represented by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), sent their “last, best and final” agreement proposal with SAG-AFTRA on Saturday, whose negotiators responded Monday morning.

The union contented itself with the fact that the disputes were continuing, without providing additional details.

“We will keep you updated as events develop.”

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos told AFP on Monday that he was convinced a deal was within reach.

“We are working hard to achieve this,” said Sarandos, who is participating in the negotiations. “I think we are very close.” “But these are complex deals and we are navigating difficult waters.

Sarandos stressed the economic impact of the closure. “Our goal is to get people back to work. This has already been a burden on everyone (…) 20% of California’s economy is tied to this strike.”

Actor and director Mark Gray holds a sign rejecting artificial intelligence during a protest in Hollywood on September 13, 2023. © Frederick J. Brown/AFP


SAG-AFTRA members walked off film sets in July, protesting improved contractual terms and protections against the use of artificial intelligence in the industry.

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The stalemate has already extended for nearly four months, putting both parties under pressure.

On the one hand, actors are facing economic hardship caused by the strike, while on the other hand, studios, which have had to adjust their release schedule, cannot wait to resume production and feed their platforms with content.

The actors went on strike in July, mimicking a Writers’ Union strike, also over contractual disputes.

Hollywood has not seen a simultaneous strike since 1960, when American actor (and future president) Ronald Reagan led the protests.

The studios and screenwriters reached an agreement in September that ended the hiatus, which lasted nearly 150 days.

The decision brought optimism to Hollywood, with studios and actors returning to the negotiating table. But the talks failed again.

Like screenwriters, actors are demanding salary increases, transparency about profit in the streaming era, and safeguards against artificial intelligence, one of the main points of contention.

Although writers have returned to their jobs, most productions cannot resume while actors remain closed.

The strike deals a major economic blow to Hollywood, estimated at about $6.5 billion, according to specialists, most of which is due to lost wages.

In October, casting talks with studio representatives suddenly broke down.

Last week, hundreds of stars, including Pedro Pascal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Sandra Oh, urged their union leaders in a letter to stand firm, stating that it was “better to stay on strike than to get a bad deal.”

“We cannot and will not accept a contract that fails to address the vital and existential problems we need to correct.”

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