Fran Drescher Delivers SAG-AFTRA Strike Speech: Video – Hollywood Life

Fran Drescher Applauded For Fiery Speech As She Calls For First SAG Strike In 4 Decades: Watch

After over a month of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, called for an actors' strike on Jul. 13.

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SAG-AFTRA President and The Nanny alum Fran Drescher, 65, was applauded for her passionate speech during the SAG-AFTRA press conference in Los Angeles on Jul. 13. Her speech (watch the video below) comes one day after the organization and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) approached their deadline to work out a “fair” new three-year contract. “I went in in earnest, thinking that we would be able to avert a strike,” Fran said at the start of the speech. “The gravity of this move is not lost on me, or our negotiating committee, or our board members who have voted unanimously to proceed with a strike.”

This is a historic move for SAG-AFTRA, as it is the first industry-wide since 1980, per Variety.  “It’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands, if not millions of people, all across this country and around the world,” the 65-year-old went on to explain. “Not only members of this union, but people who work in other industries that service the people who work in this industry.” Fran went on to state that the union felt they had “no choice” and that they had arrived at a “crossroads” in making the decision to strike.

“It came with great sadness that we came to this crossroads, but we had no choice. We are the victims here,” she said. “We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us.” Fran also went as far as to say that the AMPTP’s actions were “disgusting” and called “shame” upon them. “I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things; how they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs,” the Hollywood legend added. “It is disgusting. Shame on them! They stand on the wrong side of history at this very moment.”

Fran continued on with her speech and claimed that their union and its members have been “disrespected” and “dishonored” by the AMPTP. “We stand in solidarity, in unprecedented unity — our union, and our sister unions. Unions around the world are standing by us, as well as other labor unions. Because at some point, the jig is up,” she shouted. “You cannot keep being dwindled and marginalized, and disrespected and dishonored. The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital, A.I.”

Furthermore, the Saturday Night Fever star seemingly called the offers from the AMPTP “insulting” as well as adding that the decision to strike “weighed heavy” on the union. “This is a very big deal, and it weighed heavy on us, but at some point, you have to say no, we’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?,” she said. “Privately, they all say that we’re the center of the wheel — that everybody else tinkers around our artistry — but actions speak louder than words. And there was nothing there. It was insulting!”

Fran Drescher SAG-AFTRA strike
Fran Drescher called for an actors’ strike at the SAG-AFTRA conference on Jul. 13. (John Salangsang/Shutterstock)

The actress, who was voted as the president of SAG-AFTRA in Sept. 2021, concluded the speech by further detailing their decision to strike. “So we came together in strength, and solidarity, and unity, with the largest strike authorization vote in our union’s history, and we made the hard decision that we tell you, as we stand before you today. This is major. This is really serious,” she said, in part. “You cannot change the business model as much as it has changed, and not expect the contract to change, too.” Before she walked away from the podium, Fran instructed the AMPTP to “wake up and smell the coffee” and to “share the wealth” with the union. “You share the wealth because you cannot exist without us,” she said moments before she received a plethora of applause.

The union of which many A-lister actors are members of are asking for a “fair deal” regarding “pay scales and benefits,” per CNN Business. In addition, they are asking for the AMPTP for “progress on residuals paid for when films or shows are shown again,” on streaming sites and for “protections on use of artificial intelligence [A.I.] to create characters using actors’ voices or likeness.” As a result of the strike, many TV and movies in production could potentially be shut down. The strike is set to commence on Jul. 14 at midnight PT, per TV Line.