One of Disney and Universal’s most prominent actresses has returned from a months-long digital hiatus to express her support for film and TV crew members that are trying to strike for safe, fair working conditions–and it’s Emma Watson. The Englishwoman and well-known actress has used her first online post since May (a post that therefore automatically would receive lots of attention from fans) to speak up via social media about the mistreatment of extras and film or TV crew members that she has witnessed while making movies.
The actress who is best known for her work in the Harry Potter series and the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast” mentioned several disturbing elements of on-set Hollywood culture that she had witnessed as a child actor and as an adult actress, including seeing crew members work “16+ hour” days, seeing them “being asked to work without lunch breaks or rest”, and even becoming aware of crew members being told not to sit down while on the clock. She also cited a recent study indicating that “9 in 10 people working behind the scenes in film and TV had experienced a mental health problem, with evidence showing that working conditions, industry culture, and lack of accessible support” were all contributing factors to the issue. Other actors have also expressed support when it comes to solving this issue, and the “International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (called “International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees” for short) had actually decided to strike starting on October 17th!
— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) October 16, 2021
Actress and director Bryce Dallas Howard is another one of the celebrities who was among the strike’s supporters; the “Pete’s Dragon” actress and “Mandalorian” director made an Instagram post saying that “#IATSE is the union behind entertainment — the people who make your favorite movies and TV shows — and its workers are fed up and burnt out. And without a deal to improve unsustainable workplace conditions (check out @ia_stories to read some harrowing testimonies), IATSE has voted to strike. Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the ball is in your court. #IStandWithIATSE because “That’s how the industry works” is no longer a tolerable excuse for the abuse of labor. #IStandWithIATSE because these workers deserve living wages, sustainable benefits and reasonable rest”. She also shared the below images on social media, one of which emphasizes that crew members on movie or TV sets want enough free time to see their loved ones and watch their “kids grow up”.
The strike was cut short, however, because IATSE and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers did make a deal. However, the members of the union might still reject that deal, and according to Variety, rejection of it is likely because “Many members of IATSE say they will vote against ratifying a new contract with the major studios because it does not do enough to address working conditions on set. The deal, announced Saturday afternoon, averts a strike that would have shut down film and TV production nationwide starting on Monday morning. But in interviews and online chatter, many workers have expressed frustration with the terms and said they expect it will be rejected”.
It will take a long time for that vote to happen, so for now “work will proceed as normal on film and TV sets”. Time will tell if the support of influential actresses like Emma Watson and Bryce Dallas Howard makes a difference!