SAG-AFTRA Warns ‘Acting Profession’ May ‘No Longer Be an Option’ Without ‘Transformative Change’ in Contract (EXCLUSIVE)

SAG-AFTRA held an informational meeting for about 500 people over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Among those who signed on were actors Lupita Nyong’o, Vanessa Kirby, Melissa McCarthy, Vanessa Hudgens, Lucy Liu,  Laverne Cox, Michael Stuhlbarg, Paul Walter Hauser, Jon Huertas and Josh Pence, according to a source.

CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Faith France and Ryan Abboushi also attended, as did UTA’s Kristen Saig and Kris Heller of APA Agency. Publicists included Mara Buxbaum, Jill Fritzo, Luke Windsor, Brianna Smith and Cheryl Maisel.

The meeting was led by SAG-AFTRA national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. The guild shared a one-sheet of talking points for participants. Among the bulleted items on revenue sharing, health care and retirement, online casting platforms and artificial intelligence, the memo states, “Without a transformative change in SAG-AFTRA’s current contract with the AMPTP, the acting profession will no longer be an option for future generations of performers, and actors already working in the industry will need to pursue other careers in order to survive.”

Crabtree-Ireland read questions from participants in the chat, including one asking if SAG-AFTRA members should “unsubscribe” to struck streaming services. While there is no rule regarding subscriptions, Crabtree-Ireland said that leaving a streamer is one way of showing support of the strike, a source tells Variety.

There are two more similar Zoom meetings set for Tuesday, July 18.

As Variety’s Gene Maddaus reported on July 15, the biggest sticking points for SAG-AFTRA and the major studios is the union’s demand for 2% of the revenue generated by streaming shows. The two sides also remain far apart on basic increases in minimum rates, with the studios offering 5%, 4% and 3.5% across the three years of the contract, while the union is demanding 11%, 4% and 4%.

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