Bob Iger and Team Hire Crisis PR Team as Dual Strikes Drag On

Iger Hires Crisis Team
Credit: Eric Appel, Flickr

Almost every day, for nearly three months, Hollywood writers have taken to the picket lines. The Writers Guild of America announced that its union members would be going on strike beginning May 2. The strike began after the studios would not agree to a contract addressing some of the Guild’s biggest concerns — the use of artificial intelligence, residual percentages for streaming, and the use of “mini writer’s rooms”.

Bella Cruz SAG Strike

Credit: Bella Cruz Instagram

Since the strike began, WGA negotiators have met with the AMPTP — Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — negotiating team several times, but nothing has come of the meetings. The last meeting, held on August 11, reportedly went terribly. The WGA accused the AMPTP of leaking the details of its new offer in an attempt to “jam” the Guild and force them into a settlement. The Guild also said that the meeting was not a negotiation, but a lecture from the AMPTP about how good the offer was.

Disney Actors residuals stories are horrifying

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

The AMPTP negotiating team consists of Disney CEO Bob Iger, Universal Pictures Chief Content Officer Donna Langley, Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav, and Carol Lombardini, the President of the AMPTP.

Things have seemingly gone from bad to worse when it comes to the WGA strike, with no end in sight. The studios are losing millions of dollars per day, and they know it. After the latest contract negotiations fiasco, the AMPTP decided to take things to the next level. According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, the AMPTP has hired the renowned PR company, the Levinson Group.

Bob Iger criticism

Credit: Disney

Per THR:

The organization as well as the PR company, the Levinson Group, declined to comment. It’s led by namesake Molly Levinson, a former political director at CNN and CBS turned strategic advisor for corporate clients with reputational and risk concerns. She’s also known for her work on behalf of the restaurant Comet Ping Pong, countering “Pizzagate,” as well as the U.S. Women’s National Team in its campaign for pay equity.

The AMPTP’s addition of the Levinson Group augments its existing pair of retained media consultants, both of whom have spent their careers in Hollywood: Chris Day, previously UTA’s longtime communications head, and Scott Rowe, who spent decades in messaging for Warner Bros.

Writers Strike

Credit: Eric Appel, Flickr

The AMPTP’s latest offer includes a 13% pay increase over the next 3 years. It also bumps up the total for domestic and foreign residuals, and guarantees writers a minimum of 10 weeks of employment per project. The AMPTP also agreed to more transparency with its streaming numbers, which will be critical for the residuals-based streaming model.

The studios also addressed the use of artificial intelligence, saying that any material produced by AI would not “be considered literary material”. However, the WGA wants more guarantees that AI will not replace actual writers.

WGA Strike

Credit: Diane Greene Lent, Flickr

At the time, the guild has not said when another meeting with the AMPTP will take place. There is also no word on when SAG will meet with Iger and his fellow negotiators. SAG President Fran Drescher has said that the Guild is prepared to strike for at least six months. However, by hiring the Levinson Group, it looks like the AMPTP is desperate to come to agreements with both Guilds as soon as possible.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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