On Monday 1 May, while half of Hollywood mingled, posed, and purred at the 2023 Met Gala, the Writers Guild of America announced that all members would be ceasing work on Tuesday afternoon after negotiations between the union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down. This action marks the first WGA strike since 2007.
According to The Guardian, the strike came about due to issues deriving from the monumental growth, and continued domination of streaming within the Film and Television industry. The topic is quite complex so we’ve broken it down into three primary reasons as to why writers are officially putting their collective feet down.
First off, the guild has stated that, despite budgets for series increasing, writers’ share of that money has actually shrunk. In fact, the WGA has argued that writers who work on streaming shows are being penalised because success isn’t factored into the residuals a writer can earn (residuals refers to when a writer is financially compensated for the reuse of their work). While broadcast television uses a “reward-for-success” model which means if a show is a hit, writers can earn more in residuals, streaming doesn’t.
Secondly, most of the big streaming services, we’re talking Netflix, Amazon Prime etc, use much smaller staff—known in the industry as ‘mini rooms’. This cull in labour has resulted in a massive drop in sustained income writing jobs available.
And, finally, writers within the guild are also striking in part to try and push for regulation of AI-use in script-writing. It’s no secret that a lot of us have officially begun to consider artificial intelligence a direct threat to employment—c’mon don’t lie, I know I have. If two random software engineers can catfish a handful of Redditors with an AI-generated female model, who’s to say ChatGPT couldn’t successfully write season two of Netflix hit Beef.
Quite a few shows are going to be impacted by the WGA strike, so let’s run through the ones we actually care about (sorry, not sorry, Jimmy Kimmel).
First off, according to Variety, the writers for the Emmy winning mockumentary Abbott Elementary were due to reconvene for the third season on 2 May, this of course didn’t end up happening. The comedy series has become a firm favourite among both industry professionals and the general public.
Next up is new kid on the block Yellowjackets. The thriller series exploded onto Showtime in 2021 and has since captivated audiences with its absorbing mystery and stellar cast. Following the announcement of the strike, co-creator of the show Ashley Lyle shared on Twitter: “Well, we had exactly one day in the #YellowJackets S3 writers’ room. It was amazing, and creatively invigorating, and so much fun, and I’m very excited to get back to it as soon as the #WGA gets a fair deal.”
Everyone’s favourite 80s/ sci-fi/ rom-com/ thriller/ overall rush of a show Stranger Things may also be in danger. While the bulk of writing for the fifth and final season for the show has been basically completed, the strike may impact the release date—which had been rumoured to be around the beginning of 2024. However, with so much disruption currently afoot, the premier may end up being pushed till as late as 2025…it’s almost too tragic to imagine such a scenario.
Last but not least, fans of Saturday Night Live might want to look away for this next piece of news. SNL had been planning on having alumni and internet crush Pete Davidson return to their screens after a year-long hiatus. However, the WGA action has meant the Saturning night staple has had to scrap those plans. In fact, SNL has announced that they will have to rely on repeats for the foreseeable future, until the strikes are resolved.
It’s not completely known how long the strike will last, however, if you were to ask actor Amanda Seyfried for her opinion on the matter, she’d be sure to let you know: “Everything changed with streaming, and everybody needs to be compensated for their work. That’s fucking easy.”
American actor and musician Joe Keery stole our hearts as the now-iconic Stranger Things character Steve Harrington. Though many fans already had a soft spot for the unlikable jock-turned-stressed out mother of four during the Netflix series’ first three instalments, it was season four that truly turned the actor into an internet sensation.
If, like most of us, you have been contributing to the incredibly high number of views on some of the most viral TikTok edits of Keery’s Stranger Things character, you must have also seen, more recently, some worrying clips claiming that the actor has died in a shooting.
While some videos alleged that the tragedy took place on 23 September 2022, others claimed it happened on 8 October. Is any of it actually true? We looked into it for you.
Rumours of Keery’s alleged demise first gained traction on Facebook after a “R.I.P. Joe Keery” page attracted nearly one million likes. Those who read the account’s ‘about’ description were given a somewhat believable account of the 30-year-old’s passing.
“At about 11 a.m. ET on Saturday (October 08, 2022), our beloved actor Joe Keery passed away,” the description read. “Joe Keery was born on April 24, 1992 in Newburyport. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”
As you can imagine, the news spread like wildfire—leading hundreds of fans to immediately start writing their messages of condolence on the Facebook page, expressing their sadness that the beloved actor and musician was dead. That was until Twitter got involved, of course.
While many Facebook users believed the initial post, the Twittersphere was immediately sceptical of the report, probably learning their lesson from the huge amount of fake death reports emerging about celebrities over recent months.
Some pointed out that the news had not been featured on any major American network, indicating that it was a fake claim, as the death of an actor of Keery’s stature would most definitely be seen as major news across publications.
Then, on Sunday 9 October, the actor’s reps officially confirmed that Keery has not passed away. “He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimised by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the internet,” they said.