The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since May 2, with no resolution in sight. Not long after, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike as well because it couldn’t reach an agreement with the studios. So, what does that mean for you as a consumer? We explain whether or not you should boycott the streamers during the strikes.
Why Are Writers and Actors Striking?
Before jumping into the question we’re all dying to ask, we need to understand why actors and writers are striking. In short, streamers are raking it in and not sharing the revenue appropriately with people who are actually doing the work. The shorter seasons streamers use for their original content are a huge problem for many reasons. Still, it mainly comes down to meager residuals, revenue sharing, limited employment opportunities, and the use of AI.
Don’t Boycott the Streamers
It may seem counterintuitive, but you shouldn’t boycott the streamers (or movie theaters!) during the strikes. Yes, the streamers are the bad guys in this situation. However, boycotting the streamers would actually harm the union's argument. SAG-AFTRA hasn’t called for consumers to stop streaming or avoid new movies in theaters.
Keeping the streamers’ income and viewership up gives the union leverage to ask for higher revenue stakes and residuals for the actors and writers. By canceling subscriptions to these streaming services, consumers would inadvertently be providing the streamers with more power to lowball the union when they return to the negotiating table.
The main takeaway: Keep watching your shows! Just remember the people and how much of their effort it took to bring your favorite stories, characters, and worlds to your screen and that they deserve to get paid for it.
What You Should Do to Help
If you love TV and movies as much as we do, you’ll want to stay up to date on how you can help. Both WGA and SAG-AFTRA have been communicative with the public on their strategies, picketing lines, and how you can support the unions' causes. While the unions aren’t currently calling for fans to boycott, if that changes, we’ll update this information with the latest guidance.
In the meantime, if you want to be more involved, here are a few things you can do. Share the guilds' message on social media, whether this means reposting a story or tweeting your own thoughts — just do it. If you’re able, donate to the Entertainment Community Fund; this is what supports the many affected workers during the strikes.
Follow the unions’ Twitter accounts below for the latest updates on the strikes: