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Arab American Entertainers Amidst the SAG-AFTRA Strike

posted on: Aug 23, 2023

Arab American Entertainers Amidst the SAG-AFTRA Strike
Photo Credits: LA Times

By: Joanna Sawtari / Arab America Contributing Writer

The writer’s strike has been an ongoing issue for weeks, with protests spanning all over Los Angeles demanding better pay. It has impacted many aspects of the entertainment industry. From shutting down the production of movies and TV shows to barring actors from promoting their work. Arab Americans in the entertainment industry have been particularly impacted by this strike. Many are without a stable income or job security.

What’s the Purpose Of the Strike?

This strike stems from the goal of allowing writers to sign stable contracts with companies with a fair minimum wage. The WGA (Writers Guild of America) and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) disagreed on a minimum wage agreement by the deadline of May 1st. This motivated WGA members to strike immediately after, urging the alliance to agree on a living wage. Actors and entertainers who didn’t want to be complicit in this situation expressed their support for the protesters by stepping out of movie premieres, such as Oppenheimer. Many actually partook in the protests.

Arab American Entertainers Amidst the SAG-AFTRA Strike
Low paycheck / Photo credits: @totalvaligirl on Twitter

An Arab-American Take

Minorities in the industry recognize the impact this strike is having on representation in the media. Many people protest in order to advocate for “greater representation and visibility within the entertainment sector” (Hamzah Saman, CSA). This agreement between the WGA and AMPTP could revamp the entire entertainment industry. Paying everyone sufficient wages and also promoting more diversity onscreen.

What’s Next for the Strike?

As of now, the strike will continue indefinitely. It has reached its 3-month mark since the first protest- in 100 more days, it could be the most prolonged writer’s strike ever. Protestors are ultimately hoping for fair compensation in all areas of media, more representation, and more autonomy in the workplace. If protestors meet their goal, they could change the industry for all future generations- making Hollywood an inclusive and safe workspace for all.

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