‘Egregious And Disgusting!’: Screen Actors Guild Pres. Unloads On Latest Offer From Producers
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher, with National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator, Duncan Crabtree-Ireland (R), joins Writers Guild members at a picket line outside Netflix in Los Angeles on July 14, 2023. Tens of thousands of Hollywood actors went on strike at midnight July 13, 2023, effectively bringing the giant movie and television business to a halt as they join writers in the first industry-wide walkout for 63 years. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images

Screen Actors Guild President Fran Drescher held nothing back in her response to the latest offer from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), calling it “egregious and disgusting.”

Drescher addressed the offer during a press conference on Thursday, when the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) — announced that the union would join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a historic double strike that hasn’t been seen since the 1960s.

Among the points of contention for many SAG-AFTRA members is the potential for filmmakers to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to recreate actors’ likenesses without their permission and without paying them – a point that Drescher and SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree said was highlighted in the most recent offer from the AMPTP.

“So the AMPTP just sent out a press release basically saying … you guys have chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry,” a reporter began, laying out a few of the details of the offer.

“Not having seen their press release. I can’t respond to every point of it,” Crabtree said. “But this groundbreaking AI proposal that they gave us yesterday? In that groundbreaking AI proposal, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day’s pay, and their company should own that, scan, their image, their likeness, and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation. So if you think that’s a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again.”

A reporter then posed a similar question to Drescher, asking, “The motion picture companies released a statement saying that that the union walked away from a historic offer that you guys left the negotiating table. Was this, in fact, historic?”

“What was historic about it is that we were really so marginalized, so dishonored and so disrespected that it was really egregious and disgusting!” Drescher replied. “So that’s what was historic, that at a moment when streaming and AI and digital is so prevalent in the industry, it has disemboweled the industry that we once knew. When I did The Nanny and everybody was part of the gravy train. Now it’s a walled-in vacuum. And not only is it unfair to everybody up and down the ladder, but the entity that employs us, it’s really un-American and it’s unconscionable.”

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