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SAG-AFTRA’s 118 day strike ends

Ishmael Daro | Wikimedia Commons

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists announced that the 118-day actors strike ended at 12:01 a.m. on Nov. 9.

The SAG-AFTRA actors strike was the longest the union ever held.

In an NPR interview, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said the union would be meeting with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers bi-annually to continuously track how artificial intelligence is impacting the film industry. The meetings would be a preventative measure against technological developments in AI that could potentially harm actors’ rights.

“We’re going to have to come together on the same side for federal regulation and also to protect both of us from piracy,” Drescher said.

The union successfully negotiated a three-year deal which included, “increases in minimum salaries, a new “streaming participation” bonus, and more protections against their [actors’] images and voices being replicated by artificial intelligence,” the BBC reported.

One negotiating committee member, Kevin E. West, told Variety that although the deal was far from perfect, the union achieved an extraordinary accomplishment.

The union did not achieve every demand it set out to resolve, but it will continue negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in 2026.

Actors across the United States rejoiced when the strike ended. Timothée Chalamet commented on the occasion when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” on Nov. 11.

“I do feel lucky to be hosting after the SAG strike ended because up until two days ago — and I know this is what we were all thinking about — actors couldn’t talk about their movies,” Chalamet said.

“Bottoms” actress, Ayo Edebiri, shared her sentiments in an Instagram post featuring photos from the film’s production.

“Immensely proud of my union and grateful to our union siblings who fought alongside us — every film and tv project made is a miraculous act of chaos, community and care,” Edebiri said.

Several films and TV shows abruptly stopped production when the strike began on July 14, Despite many projects nearing  completion. Productions such as “Deadpool 3,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The White Lotus” and “Stranger Things” are among the projects set to return to work immediately, the BBC reported.

Hollywood is returning to its typical production and promotion schedule, but with new regulations. Streaming services will now offer bonuses to actors and AI will not be used to replace actors’ likenesses.

The release of completed productions such as Zendaya’s “Dune 2” and “The Challengers” were delayed because production teams decided that it was not worth distributing during a time when actors could not promote it. Both films will be released next year and are ineligible for the 2023 awards season.

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards was originally scheduled for September but was pushed due to the strike. The awards ceremony will air on Jan. 15, 2024.

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