Shortly before the SAG announced its strike, Deadline reported on the approach the studios are taking in their negotiations with the Writers Guild of America, which has already been on strike for the past 70 days. According to the report, the studios’ strategy in negotiations is not to engage in substantive talks with the writers until October at the earliest, believing that going without pay for an extended period will put financial pressure on the writers that will lead them to be more willing to settle on terms that are favorable to the studios.
“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” one studio executive told Deadline. The report was quoted widely as evidence of the “cold-as-ice approach” studios are taking in their negotiations.
Separately, Disney CEO Bob Iger was also lambasted for comments he made about the strike during an interview he had with CNBC. Iger said that both the writers and actors are being “unrealistic” in their demands, saying that their position on the matter is “disturbing” given the difficulties the industry is facing. Actors and writers reacted to these comments by pointing out the hypocrisy of Iger criticizing the unions for being greedy, shortly after he landed a two-year $54M contract extension to serve as Disney CEO for another two years.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav prompted similar backlash for comments against the unions while he enjoys an eight-figure salary. The net effect is to paint the studios as greedy and the more unreasonable party, which may push the studios to the negotiating table in order to settle the matter.