LGBTQ+ actors are raising their voices in support of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike which has effectively discontinued Hollywood’s operations.


@TheMCBonilla tweeted about her success as a strike captain, saying that she had over 700 @sagaftra members show up on Day 1.


The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) approved a strike last Thursday, in response to failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The union for actors in films and television took this action after deciding to support a healthy working environment and sufficient wages for the artist, including those who are not known widely. Since last Friday, the actors have been striking in solidarity with the Writer Guild of Americas (WGA) members, who have been on boycotts since May, showing a protest for their rights and demands in Hollywood.


But even well-known actors who make appearances on popular shows are highlighting the devastating effect of the streaming boom on the residuals. These residuals have been a traditional source of income for actors and other professionals involved in TV and film productions often earned from reruns, syndication, and home media sales. However, due to the shift towards streaming platforms, they can no longer rely on traditional earnings.


The cast of Netflix’s popular series, “Orange is the New Black” recently in a New Yorker article, revealed their low pay rate from the show, in spite of it being one of the groundbreaking hits of the streaming era. Lea DeLaria, the LGBTQ+ actor from the show, revealed that her payouts for the series are only around $20. As per the magazine’s report, the CEO of Netflix Ted Sarandos receives a salary of $22 million.


During the strike in New York last week, gay actor Anthony Rapp, accompanied by his partner and their son, discussed the consequences of streaming on actors’ residual checks.


“I did a few episodes of The Knick several years ago and it’s on some form of streaming now and I get like $1.25 in residuals a couple of times a year,” he told Variety. “I did a couple of episodes of The Good Fight, again, $3 residuals, $1.50 residuals.”


Rapp elaborated that before the strike of 1960 writers and actors, those who starred in popular tv shows were only paid their base salary without any additional compensation. While studios and networks continued to make profits significantly, equivalent to millions of dollars, from the actors’ performances.


“So that was the first time we were able to make the case, ‘You’re continuing to profit off of the labor that we provided. There would not be these products if it weren’t for our labor, so we should benefit from the continuing service of that,” he elaborated. “And yes, streaming, these things live on their services, or they simply take them off, so they don’t have to pay residuals anymore. We’re in an entirely new landscape and the companies have not met us halfway to account for the differences.”


On July 13th, child actor Mara Wilson, who identifies as bisexual, tweeted that she earned only a little amount of money from her voice roles in Netflix’s BoJack Horseman and in Disney’s Big Hero 6 and that she didn’t qualify for SAG-AFTRA health benefits.


While other actors have been active in posting on social media in support of the strike even though they are not present at the protest in New York and Los Angeles.


Queer Actress Cynthia Nixon, popular for her role in And Just Like That, posted details about the strike and SAG-AFTRA’s New York protest schedule on her Instagram. Additionally, transgender actress Laverne Cox posted the speech of SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher announcing the strike and also posted a screenshot of a New Yorker story featuring her fellow Orange is the New Black cast members.

Last week, Gay actors Coleman Domingo and Guy Branum expressed their support for the strike short tweet. Meanwhile, actress Jasmin Savoy Brown took a powerful stand by deleting all her Instagram posts, leaving only a striking “SAG-AFTRA Strong” image on her grid, showcasing her solidarity.


Rapp and his gay Star Trek: Discovery co-star Wilson Cruz reacted outrageously regarding the studio’s responses to the union’s demands.

Cruz also published a thread with ideas for how viewers can see writers and actors who are unable to work, while on strike.


Last week, After Disney CEO Bob Iger’s statement on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he described both WGA and SAG-AFTRA demands as ‘unrealistic’ to which many creatives and LGBTQ+ writers expressed their anger in response.


The unmitigated gall & arrogance of a small group of multi-millionaires representing multi-billion dollar companies to say the entire field of working-class writers and actors are ‘unrealistic’ because we want to survive and afford rent and put food on our tables,” tweeted Jen Richards, adding that “the vast majority of actors & writers are working class in a very unpredictable industry and barely get by.


“To the already disgustingly rich it’s ‘unreasonable’ that we want to be able to afford homes and take care of our children or parents if there’s even the possibility that they will make a little less profit tomorrow than they did yesterday,” she continued. “The rich MUST always be getting richer.”


Meanwhile, during the premiere of Disney’s Haunted Mission on the red carpet, our director Justin Simien expressed his desire to speak with Iger about his remarks.

“Let me tell you about unrealistic,” Simien told Variety. “Me being a filmmaker is unrealistic, coming from Houston, Texas, gay, Black—that’s unrealistic. And what made me believe I could do that and so many things is watching these movies with these beautiful protagonists who had these unrealistic dreams and to see the journey that it took them to get there. So many artists believe in that dream and contribute to these movies and these products. I would love to talk to him about the reality that we all face as artists to make the impossible happen every day.”

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Kyla Ortega

Kyla is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for streaming and security. With over a decade of experience in the industry, John has become an authoritative voice, providing valuable insights and practical advice to readers worldwide.

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