“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”- Matthew 6:16
Those words came across me in the Bible as I took a break from writing for a couple of days and tried to bottle my thoughts into a thoughtful and sincere article for our loyal readers. It instantly made me think about what is going on in Hollywood, as the strike has passed the 100 day mark. The writers and actors started off fighting for a cause that was understandable and even noble for the lesser known union members.
Now this movement has been corrupted. Megalomania and greed have taken over and the unions have become little more than a conglomeration of bullies and idolaters that steamroll anyone and anything that gets in the way of their selfish demands. If you disagree with them, you are automatically branded a “scab” and vilified publicly. Twitter has become a method of public execution for the WGA.
It still hasn’t been explained what, exactly a “livable wage” is for the writers. If $11,000 a week isn’t “livable” then how is everyone else in LA managing to get by? What do servers and bartenders do? Do bus drivers sleep on their respective buses?
I have written previously about how the writers walked away from the most generous deal offered to them in thirty five years. This has effected many jobs in the Los Angeles area with no ties to the union. Small businesses, caterers, costume designers, laborers, and many other work forces are taking a hit on this.
One would expect somebody to speak out on their behalf. That won’t happen because if anybody opens their mouth, they will be met with a ruthless blitz of harassment and abuse until they are silenced out of fear of more retribution.
This isn’t a union, it’s a politburo.
Barrymore And Maher Tried To Do Right By The Writers And Their Staff
Earlier in the month, both Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher decided to resume production on their respective shows. This is nothing new to any of the strikes before. In the previous strike, late night hosts returned to their programs with Conan O’Brien and David Letterman growing out beards in solidarity with the writers. It was a perfectly acceptable scenario and there were no objections.
This time, the strikers are militant and prisoners are not being taken. However, the strikers are picking out who to target in a cold and calculating way.
Pushed to her wit’s end, the newly embattled actress even filmed an apology video in which she was reduced to tears and looked like she was sending a proof of life video filmed by her kidnapper.
Ultimately, Ms. Barrymore was strongarmed into putting her show back on hold.
Bill Maher faced similar backlash. He was publicly shamed and labeled a “traitor” and a “scab” by his so called friends. This has forced him to table his show for the time being. Maher and Barrymore both committed an unforgivable sin, They dared to think of somebody other than themselves and in what was clearly a moment of insanity, they took people who weren’t writers into consideration.
Maher and Barrymore had the audacity to say what every other rational person has been thinking. The writers aren’t the only people with problems and concerns and they were trying to bring work back to the below the line staff, some of whom are in dire straits financially and desperately need to get back to work.
The two hosts were even emphatic in saying that they would obey the guidelines of the strike, cutting segments that required writers and doing stripped down versions of their programs.
That wasn’t good enough. You can’t simply obey the strike guidelines anymore. You have to obey the mob, or suffer the consequences.
Maher And Barrymore Were The Right Targets For The Writers
Looking at the situation objectively, you may wonder what the big deal even is. The View is still airing every morning on ABC, with writers (honestly, if you write for The View the WGA probably just ignores you anyway.) Sure, it gets picketed and some people speak out against it. With all things considered though, The View has received minimal pushback.
That is because Whoopi Goldberg isn’t afraid to push back. She never has been. Goldberg is a tough woman who came from tough beginnings. She does what she wants and if you square off against her, she will eat you alive.
Maher and Barrymore grew up in the industry. Maher’s father was a well respected man in radio and Bill grew up on the sets of legends like Don Imus. Drew Barrymore is Hollywood royalty as a member of the revered Barrymore Family. Both of these people grew up in the world of entertainment. It is all they know, and the Union knows that. So the message was sent loud and clear: Life as they know it will end if they keep stepping out of line. No more parties, no more projects, you will be social pariahs.
I don’t fault Maher and Barrymore for going back on their decisions. They are good people who are trying to please everyone and do the right thing at the same time. Unfortunately that is not how the world works.
Influencers And Tourists Beware
The Unions don’t just stop with celebrities who step out of line. They have also taken to harassing tourists. On the opening nights of Universal Studio’s popular Halloween Horror Nights celebration, about fifty strikers showed up to the park’s entrance to hand out flyers with information about the strike.
The lack of self-awareness it takes to turn down an offer that guarantees you $11,000 a week and pester people on vacation is astounding. Even more astounding is the WGA authorizing this behavior outside of a theme park where the workers are making less than a fraction of what they make.
Social Media Influencers have also come into the grasp of this iron fist, and have been threatened with retribution should they fall out of line. The writers don’t care about anything but themselves, and you had better put everything on the backburner and hoist them up on a pedestal if you know what’s good for you.
What People Have Said
Since we have been and always will be fueled by the fans, we asked some members of our GNN Greats group their thoughts on the matter. Here is what they had to say:
“Well, I can completely understand folks not wanting them to “cross the picket line” but they are looking to help people out. I dunno. That is a tough one.”- Group member Jimmie Draper.
“Truthfully I didn’t think it would matter because they are talking show hosts and not (really) actors anymore… don’t know the intricacies of how Hollywood works but I understand why the actors guild is on strike. Talkshows on the other hand imo have always been a separate entity to me. So when I heard that Drew got chastised and shamed I was like ‘What? Really?’ But I’m not a Hollywood person so what do I know? “- Jeffrey Williams
“Life is so much more pleasant without Hollywood telling us how we should think.”- John Biscardi, Host of The Geek And I Podcast
“I am an avid fan of Bill Mahers Real Time. I was happy he decided to bring his show back, as there are many other people suffering from this strike than just the writers. I also respect that he canceled bringing his show back when the 2 sides seemed close to a deal. He readily admitted that his show was not going to be as good as if the writers were writing, but he also acknowledged the support staff that is also suffering from the lack of work.”- Kenny Taylor
As I write this, negotiations have resumed between the WGA and the AMPTP. Whether or not they prove to be fruitful is anyone’s guess. One thing is clear though. The writers are in it for themselves, and absolutely nobody else. The cameramen, caterers, makeup crews, set designers, and every other little person needs to suffer with them, whether they like it or not.
They are ruthless oppressors hiding behind the mask of a fictional struggle. If you call them out on it, they will do whatever they can do in their power to ruin you.
Long live the thugs wearing the victims clothing.
What do you think, geek faithful? Am I right? Wrong? Too Harsh? Sound off in the comments!
Thank You for reading! When I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my three year old daughter Frances, and my loyal hound Marbles. For more hot takes, follow me here and on our brand new YouTube channel.