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‘Do Not Plead Poverty to Me. Just Make a Good Deal (Audio)

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher didn’t hold back Wednesday in a new interview with NPR, calling out studio bosses “making $78,000 a day” who nevertheless say the entertainment industry doesn’t have the money to meet the demands of striking actors and writers.

“Please do not plead poverty to me. Just make a good deal,” Drescher told NPR’s Ailsa Chang.

Drescher was on NPR’s “All Things Considered” to discuss the Hollywood strike, which has now lasted 127 days — with the Writers Guild of America going on strike May 2 and the actors guild joining them July 13. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to listen to the whole thing.

Drescher said the situation “is unlike any other strike and any other contract,” calling this moment “an inflection point.” She also pointed to other labor actions that have happened since WGA and SAG-AFTRA went on strike, telling Change, “it’s like a domino effect because suddenly, somebody said, the emperor has no clothes.”

“The problem is the culture of the big business in this industry,” Drescher also said. “It’s no longer what it used to be. It’s CEOs very tied to their performance with Wall Street. And it’s this diminishing and degrading of the artisans that they’re building their whole business on.”

“That’s not the way to have a collaborative art form,” Drescher explained.

Acknowledging that the business of Hollywood has changed considerably in the last few decades, Drescher still pushed back against the notion that the money isn’t there for the guilds. “When a CEO is making $78,000 a day, when a studio makes a billion dollars on a weekend, please do not plead poverty to me. Just make a good deal. You could be the hero in the story. Just pivot,” she said.

“Start being inclusive. Start realizing that we’re not peons. We’re not serfs. We’re in this together. Honor our artistry. Exalt what we bring to the world. Share the wealth, and you’ll see that, you know, the business will have much more longevity and much less of this kind of thing,” she added.

Near the end of the chat, Drescher attributed the series of events leading to the strike to not only, as Change put it, “a game of chicken,” but also, “greed – you know, this insatiable appetite for money. They’re still not seeing that the culture needs to change, that they need to change. This conversation is bigger than our contract. It’s about caring. It’s about being empathic. It’s about making money but not at the expense. Don’t step on me, climb on my shoulders, beat me down just so that you can make an extra shekel. Sorry, but that is no longer acceptable.”

Listen to the whole interview here:

For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.

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