SAG-AFTRA — the union comprised of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists — announced a strike on July 13.
Why the strike? One of the main reasons is compensation. When you think of actors’ paychecks, you might imagine everyone raking in obscene amounts of money. But that’s actually not the case for so, so many folks in the entertainment industry. In the past few weeks, actors have spoken up about the shockingly low residuals they receive, in part due to the rise of streaming.
Well, in a new interview with Variety, SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance and executive director Cyd Wilson shared that they recently received a historic donation to support actors on strike.
During COVID, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation provided relief to many of the 160,000 members through the Emergency Financial Assistance Program. Cyd explained, “We rely on donations and grants to provide services — we have been very fortunate that we raised enough money to be able to cover all of our programs. But when we hit a crisis like this and we’re going to spend millions and millions of dollars in financial assistance, this is when we need our high profile talent who can afford it, who are in a situation to help others.”
After they sent a letter to 2,700 of the union’s best-paid actors and highlighted the difficult financial situation many members would face while on strike, Dwayne Johnson hopped on a call with Courtney.
“It was a love fest. It’s like, ‘Man, you’re stepping up in a way that is allowing others to know the dire necessity of it.’ This is him saying, ‘In such a time as this, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere, whatever you need me to do.’ And that sends a huge message to other folks to do the same thing.”
“It is a call to arms for all of us to know that we just have to step up however you can,” Courtney continued. “If your step up is $10, step up. Because that $10 is going to help somebody. If it’s $10,000, if it’s $10 million, step up, because we have to. Everyone knows what happens when you go on strike, when you stand for something — as the saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for everything — you can’t stand unless you have support underneath you, on the side, up top and up front. So Dwayne is letting everyone know, ‘I’m here. What are you going to do?'”
Cyd added, “It’s the largest single donation that we’ve ever received from one individual at one time. And what is amazing is that that one check is going to help thousands of actors keep food on their table, and keep their kids safe, and keep their cars running. And it’s not lost on me that he’s very humble about this, but it is a way to get us started.”
Courtney thanked Dwayne for his “tremendous generosity, compassion, and initiative to step up in this significant and meaningful way for our community.” He concluded, “On behalf of the thousands who will be helped by his historic donation, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
LOVE this! So cool for Dwayne — one of the highest-paid celebs in Hollywood — to open up his wallet and support his fellow actors during this time of uncertainty and financial hardship. That’s how it’s done, folks!
Content Source: www.buzzfeed.com