President Joe Biden threw his support behind striking entertainment writers on Monday, saying he hoped those on the picket lines are given a fair deal “as soon as possible.”
“I sincerely hope that the writers strike in Hollywood gets resolved — and the writers are given the fair deal they deserve, as soon as possible,” Biden said before the screening of a new Disney+ series, “American Born Chinese,” at the White House. “This is an iconic, meaningful American industry. We need the writers — and all the workers — and everyone involved to tell the stories of our nation. And the stories of all of us.”
The comments are the president’s first after some 11,500 film and television writers in the Writers Guild of America, West and East, went on strike last week to demand better pay and workplace protections. (Unionized HuffPost workers also are represented by the Writers Guild.)
Writers say a main concern is the dramatic expansion of content that hasn’t resulted in increased wages or stability. Many union members say it has become more difficult to get steady work and are calling on streaming companies to shift their business practices. The spread of artificial intelligence is also a primary concern.
Production on several shows has already halted as a result, and major late night programs, including “Saturday Night Live” and “The Tonight Show,” are on hiatus.
“It’s fundamentally about fairness, about getting our fair share,” Danny Strong, the creator of “Empire” and “Dopesick,” told HuffPost last week. “You know, writers who create the content that everyone else has profited off of need to get the appropriate share that they’ve always been getting over the years. Our salaries should be increasing, not decreasing.”
It’s the first strike since 2007 and comes as the media industry adapts to the streaming era. Studios have said the strike likely won’t be as noticeable as earlier walkouts, as there are now hundreds more TV shows than before streaming took over television screens.