SAG-AFTRA responded to Sarah Silverman’s criticism over the union allowing certain projects to film amid its strike with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over labor disputes.
“Some have suggested that the Interim Agreement might prolong the strike, but we disagree,” the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) union said in a statement on Sunday, July 30, via Deadline. “We believe the leverage created by increasing competitive pressure on the AMPTP and denying them what they want most will force them back to the table and help bring this strike to an end.”
The statement continued: “We understand the concern that our Interim Agreement may produce content for struck companies to distribute. We are confident that the terms of this agreement, particularly the streaming revenue share, will make distribution of these projects through AMPTP platforms unfeasible, until such time as an industrywide agreement has been reached.”
SAG-AFTRA’s Interim Agreement allows projects such as indie films (more than 40 projects and counting) and several TV shows to keep working as the rest of Hollywood is at a standstill. The caveat seeming undermines the rules set out by SAG for its current strike, which began earlier this month.
The guidelines previously stated that union actors cannot promote any of their struck projects — past, present or future — and must stop all shooting until the picketing ends. (Struck work includes all projects associated with AMPTP’s studios, streaming services and principal broadcast networks. The AMPTP represents major studios such as Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros., while indie studio A24 backs many independent films. TV’s Hallmark Channel, meanwhile, has also continued filming because it is not represented by AMPTP.)
The negotiating committee, however, insisted on Sunday that “the Interim Agreement is a vital part of our strategic approach to these negotiations and to the strike. If the AMPTP continues to refuse to bargain, our strategy denies them the ability to freely make their own original productions, allowing everyone other than the AMPTP to produce content with our members. We urge independent producers to apply and encourage SAG-AFTRA members to work on the projects that obtain an Interim Agreement, along with all of the other permissible work we support.”
Furthermore, the union organizers argued that the Interim Agreement allows “many of our journeyman performers and crews the opportunity to pay their rent and feed their families.” SAG explained that “this approach maintains our strength, solidarity and upper hand with the AMPTP until they yield to the deal we deserve.”
The committee insisted: “The Interim Agreement is not a waiver. To be clear, it is a contract that includes all terms and conditions for producers looking to employ our members on their specific independent productions.”
SAG-AFTRA concluded by vowing to protect the “interests of our members” both those who are working under the Interim Agreement and those who are on the picket lines. “We will continue to work hard to negotiate fair compensation and safe working conditions for our members, and we thank you for your continued support through the strike.”
SAG’s statement came days after Silverman, 52, made headlines for slamming the union for finding a way to make movies during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. (The Writers Guild of America has been on strike since May over similar AMPTP issues.)
“I feel f—king pissed off, and I know I just must not be understanding something. There are, like, 40 movies being made right now,” Silverman said in an Instagram video posted on Thursday, July 27. “Movie stars are making movies because they’re ‘independent movies,’ and SAG is allowing it because if they do sell it to streaming, it has to be because streaming is abiding by all the things we’re asking for.”
She quipped: “That’s just working! The strike ends when they come to the table and we make a deal in agreement. So that is going to be what happens.”
The comedian argued that the Interim Agreement could led to the strikes being “exponentially prolonged, because they have movie stars making movies.” She further claimed that stars who aren’t picketing — and are still working — aren’t showing solidarity with the movement.
“It’s scabbing, you’ve made that so clear that it’s scabbing,” Silverman alleged. “Now, all of a sudden movie stars can make movies if they’re indie movies where they promise they’ll only sell it if X, Y, and Z. That’s called the end of the strike, motherf—kers!”