Hollywood A-listers lead strike rally at Times Square demanding better pay and job securitytext_fields
New York: Prominent Hollywood A-listers, including Emmy winner Bryan Cranston and Academy Award winners Brendan Fraser, Jessica Chastain, and F. Murray Abraham, took the lead in a massive rally of striking actors and writers in New York's Times Square.
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) guild members walked off the job on July 14, joining the writers who have been on strike for weeks, effectively shutting down movie and television production in the United States. The strike is fueled by demands for better pay, job security, and safeguards against the perceived threat posed by artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry.
This marks the first industry-wide walkout in 63 years, and both guilds are determined to stand their ground.
"We will not be having our jobs taken away and given to robots," emphasised Bryan Cranston, renowned for his role in "Breaking Bad." The concern arises from the use of AI to recreate an actor's likeness, potentially jeopardising their career opportunities.
Addressing Disney boss Bob Iger, who has been the target of the actors' frustrations, Cranston passionately declared, "We will not have you take away our right to work and earn a decent living, and, lastly and most importantly, we will not allow you to take our dignity." He made this powerful statement while wearing a SAG-AFTRA t-shirt and raising his fists, surrounded by Times Square's iconic giant screens often promoting the latest movies and streaming series.
F. Murray Abraham, famous for his Academy Award-winning role in the 1984 movie "Amadeus," expressed the significance of unionism, stating, "We're fighting for integrity, respect, and honour." The 83-year-old actor, who recently appeared in the hit series "The White Lotus," underscored the importance of standing united in this struggle.
Other notable actors, including Steve Buscemi and Christian Slater, also participated in the rally, adding to the star-studded protest.
SAG-AFTRA represents a diverse range of actors, from mega-stars to day players with smaller roles in television series, encompassing approximately 160,000 individuals, including stuntmen and dancers.
The strike not only affects actors' ability to film but also restricts them from promoting their productions in person or on social media, amplifying their impact on the industry.