Internet Reacts to SAG-AFTRA Strike and President Fran Drescher’s Impassioned Speech

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) officially voted to go on strike today, meaning Hollywood’s actors will join the Writers Guild of America on the picket lines as soon as tomorrow morning. The news was announced by SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director & Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland in a press conference, in which Drescher launched into a passionate speech – earning the approval of many on social media.

Drescher, who’s best known to the general public as the star of ’90s sitcom The Nanny, slammed the Hollywood studios for what she called “insulting” responses to their asks in contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“We are being victimized by a very greedy enterprise,” she said. “At some point you have to say ‘no, we’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy. What are you doing? Why are you doing this?’ ”

“Our hearts bleed to make this decision,” Drescher later continued. “But we can’t not get what these members deserve because it’s only going to get worse. This is where we drew the line in the sand, and it’s a terrible thing to have to do. But we were forced into it.”

Watch part of her speech below.

Much of Hollywood, for its part, has expressed support for the strike as SAG-AFTRA pushes for better working conditions, compensation, and protections in its negotiations with studios. The U.K. premiere of Christopher Nolan’s Oppeneheimer was taking place just as the strike was being announced, and Nolan told the audience that the cast left the premiere in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA.

Speaking to Indiewire, Jessica Chastain – who might’ve otherwise been on the Emmy campaign trail for her Showtime limited series George & Tammy – addressed the issues that SAG-AFTRA is concerned about.

“There’s huge innovations in our industry, content has been incredible, streaming and amazing technology have made huge steps, and quickly,” she said. “But difficult things like contracts haven’t kept up with the innovations that have been made, resulting in huge inequality, people not able to earn a fair wage and support families. The industry has been so separated in terms of who is able to make a living and who isn’t. This can’t continue anymore. My heart breaks.”

Other SAG-AFTRA members and celebrities, too, posted with their intentions to leave the sets and take up pickets.

Elsewhere, those online cheered Drescher’s speech. While the SAG-AFTRA president was recently derided for photos that showed her with Kim Kardashian in Italy, many were encouraged by her strong words in commitment to fighting for the guild’s members. And, it should be noted, they had a little fun with the star of The Nanny being the face of a major labor movement.

The strike announcement today marks the first time SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have been on the picket lines together since 1960. For more on strikes, check out our breakdown of what the 2007-08 WGA strike changed for film and television.

Thumbnail credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Alex Stedman is a Senior News Editor with IGN, overseeing entertainment reporting. When she’s not writing or editing, you can find her reading fantasy novels or playing Dungeons & Dragons.

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