Writers show support for striking actors at AAPI-themed rally in Manhattan

Writers show support for striking actors at AAPI-themed rally in Manhattan
Michelle De Pacina
September 29, 2023
On the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival, a rally in Manhattan brought together striking actors preparing for contract talks and writers who had recently concluded their negotiations. 
About the rally: The event, held outside the Manhattan offices of Warner Bros. Discovery, also celebrated Asian American Pacific Islander culture in film and television. Key speakers included actors Joel de la Fuente, Perry Yung, Celia Au and Ivory Aquino, who highlighted the increasing visibility of Asian Americans in the industry. The actors’ strike demands focused on sustainable wages and limitations on artificial intelligence use in productions to ensure the continued presence of Asian American characters and stories on film and TV.
While Yung highlighted the importance of recent movies like “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in showcasing Asian talent, de la Fuente emphasized the continuing struggle for actors, noting that the strike is not over.
“We are still in the middle of our story, and as all SAG-AFTRA members will tell you, you do not play the end of the scene when you are still in the middle of the scene,” de la Fuente said, according to Deadline.
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Diversity on display: Ezra Knight, president of SAG-AFTRA’s New York chapter, said the diversity on display at the rally was a “superpower” for the union, particularly at a time when the labor movement was under scrutiny.
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, the newly elected president of the Writers Guild of America East, credited SAG-AFTRA’s strike with helping writers secure an “exceptional” agreement. This development created momentum for the actors as they resume their contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
“We are here with you ’til the very end. The writers support the actors. We cannot do it without you,” Takeuchi Cullen said.
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Progress in negotiations: While the demands of actors and writers differ, both unions are seeing progress in their negotiations. The writers’ success has paved the way for the actors, giving hope that the studios will be more cooperative.
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