Biden calls for ‘fair deal’ for writers as strike continues
(CNN) — President Joe Biden Monday called for major studios to come up with a “fair deal” for striking writers who have demanded changes to their contracts.
The president made the comments while honoring Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the White House with a star-studded screening of “American Born Chinese,“ a show set to premiere later this month.
“Nights like these are a reminder of the power of stories, and the importance of treating storytellers with dignity, respect and the value they deserve,” Biden said. “I sincerely hope the writer strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
He called the Hollywood film industry “iconic,” and “meaningful,” adding that “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.”
More than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike May 2 for the first time since 2007, demanding better compensation and other concessions from studios and streamers amid a changing media landscape.
Writers say a pivot by the industry to focus on streaming has left even successful, award-winning writers unable to make a living in a business with fewer job opportunities and diminished pay.
The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers — which represents management for big studios such as Disney, NBC Universal and CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery — has said it is willing to improve on its offer but unwilling to meet certain demands from the union.
The WGA has signaled that the work stoppage could last for many months, CNN has reported, while studio executives have insisted their bank of streaming content can withstand writers temporarily stopping the flood of content.
The president at Monday’s event was introduced by Academy Award winner Ke Huy Quan, who stars in the Disney+ streaming show based on the graphic novel of the same name.
“When I think about this story, I think about the courage it took for so many of you and your ancestors to start the journey to America and continue the traditions,” Biden said, speaking in the East Room. “I’m determined to remind everyone, and we’re doing it again tonight, that our strength lies in our diversity.”