Why Striking Actors Don't Want You to Cancel Your Streaming Services Just Yet

A SAG-AFTRA strike captain explained that a fall in viewership would only hurt the union's arguments.

Many who want to support the striking actors and writers have wondered if they should cancel their streaming service subscription, but the strikers don't want that just yet. Explaining the situation in a tweet, one SAG-AFTRA strike captain offered, "A reminder SAG has not called for a consumer boycott. Please keep watching tv and films-if anything, this helps PROVE the studios need us-AI doesn't have the soul or emotion real people do. Also this helps proves marginalized stories and actors are sorely needed in our industry."

The current Hollywood strikes began with the Writers Guild of America strike on May 2. The organization represents more than 11,000 Hollywood TV and movie writers. The strike was the result of the WGA not reaching an acceptable agreement after six weeks of wage negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. 

"Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal – and though your strike vote gave us the leverage to make some gains – the studios' responses to our proposals have been wholly insufficient, given the existential crisis writers are facing," the negotiating committee wrote in a letter to members, per VOX. "The companies' behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing." 

The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) also began a strike on July 4. Among their list of demands, SAG-AFTRA is asking for "minimum earnings to simply keep up with inflation," protection of performers' "images and performances to prevent replacement of human performances by artificial intelligence technology," "compensation to reflect the value we bring to the streamers who profit from our labor," and "support from our employers to keep our health and retirement funds sustainable."

In a message to members and the public, SAG-AFTRA previously stated, "Here's the simple truth: We're up against a system where those in charge of multibillion-dollar media conglomerates are rewarded for exploiting workers. The companies represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) – which include Amazon/MGM, Apple, Disney/ABC/Fox, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount/CBS, Sony, Warner Bros. Discovery (HBO), and others – are committed to prioritizing shareholders and Wall Street. Detailed below are some of the key issues of the negotiation and where things stand. We moved on some things, but from day one they wouldn't meaningfully engage on the most critical issues." At this time, the strike does not have an end date.