SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher ended babysitting studio executives during the failed Film and Television Producers Alliance negotiations that led to the ongoing strike.
The TV icon “Nanny”. he told Variety that Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger’s recent comments about the SAG-AFTRA strike were “tone-deaf” and have only further cemented Iger’s status as a “medieval-era land baron” with enormous wealth disparity in Hollywood. During an interview on CNBC Thursday morning before the official declaration of the dual union strike, Iger called the then-possible work stoppage a “very disturbing” and “disruptive” development, especially post-COVID.
“I found them terribly repulsive and out of this world. Positively tone-deaf,” Drescher said of Iger’s statement just hours before SAG’s official strike was announced. “I don’t think it served him well. I would never let him talk to anyone about this, because it’s so obvious that he has no idea what’s really going on in the field with hard working people that he’s not making anywhere near the salary he’s making.
He added: “High seven figures, eight figures, this is crazy money they make and they don’t care if they’re land barons from a medieval era.”
Of note, Iger just renewed his Disney contract as CEO through 2026. Iger earned $24 million in fiscal 2022, according to Deadline. The Walt Disney Company laid off 7,000 workers earlier this year.
During the Allen & Co. Sun Valley Conference, Iger called the worker strikes “very disturbing,” saying, “We talked about disruptive forces in this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the COVID recovery that’s in course, he hasn’t fully returned. This is the worst time in the world to add to this disruption.
Iger added, “I understand the desire of any union organization to work on behalf of its members to achieve maximum compensation and be compensated fairly for the value they provide. We were able, as an industry, to negotiate a great deal with the filmmakers guild that reflects the value that filmmakers contribute to this great business. We wanted to do the same thing with the writers and we would like to do the same thing with the actors. There’s a level of expectation that they have, which isn’t realistic. And they’re adding to the set of challenges this company is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
The SAG-AFTRA strike, which went into effect on July 14, mandates union actors cannot promote their past, present, or future work at festivals, conventions, podcasts, panels, previews, and more. Major on- and off-camera work is also prohibited as part of the work stoppage order, as are contract negotiations for upcoming projects. Indeed, Hollywood is at a standstill for the first time since 1960, when there was the last dual-union strike.
“What is happening to us is happening in all fields of work,” Drescher said at the SAG-AFTRA press conference that announced the strike Thursday. “When employers make Wall Street and greed their priority and forget the essential contributors that keep the machine running, we have a problem and we are experiencing it right now. This is a very important hour for us. I went in seriously thinking we would be able to avoid a strike. The gravity of this move was not lost on me or our negotiating committee, or our board members, who voted unanimously to go ahead with a strike. It’s a very serious thing that affects thousands if not millions of people across the country and around the world.”