Obama Crossed the Picket Line, Placing Writers Say


The Writers Guild of America is presently on strike in opposition to in opposition to the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers. Screenwriters are battling the Hollywood studios for larger pay, higher working circumstances, and contract protections from AI alternative.

Within the midst of the continuing labor dispute, putting writers have accused Barack Obama of crossing the picket line. The previous president participated in a dwell occasion selling his just lately launched Netflix docuseries on Thursday.

The dialogue, led by journalist Ira Glass and hosted on LinkedIn, centered round Working: What We Do All Day—a present narrated, starring, and co-produced by Obama. The collection was impressed by labor activist and historian Studs Terkel’s traditional oral account of staff within the U.S., and follows folks in several professions as they navigate their day-to-day lives. Gizmodo is conscious that the irony right here is thiccc.

Obama started the dialogue with a ~3 minute, meandering assertion outwardly of in help of the WGA strike. “I do know that there are numerous studios and streamers who really feel a bit bit embattled—that there’s been a bit a bit bit an excessive amount of of a glut of product and so they’re their backside line. And so they’re experiencing shareholder stress, etcetera. However the reality is that they wouldn’t be round if it weren’t for writers who have been creating the tales that matter,” he says in a recording of the occasion.

“My hope is that, as somebody who’s actually supportive of The Writers’ Guild and as someone who believes in story telling and the craft of it— I’m hoping that they are going to be compensated, and the significance of what they do will likely be mirrored in no matter settlement they arrive at. So I’m very supportive of the writers and the strike, and I’m hopeful that they get a justifiable share of the fruits of their labor,” Obama provides.

Then rapidly, the dialog pivots. “Let’s discuss in regards to the TV present,” Glass says. And so they do, for greater than an hour.

Although Obama’s previous soapbox speech may look like solidarity, it doesn’t precisely erase his resolution to advertise a Netflix collection whereas union staff are actively putting in opposition to the streaming big. For a lot of WGA writers, the transfer amounted to a transgression in opposition to the union code.
“President @BarackObama, if you wish to make a press release in regards to the worth of labor, please don’t cross the @wga picket line to do publicity for a struck firm,” Javier Grillo-Marxuach, a screenwriter greatest recognized for his work on reveals equivalent to Misplaced, Charmed, and Legislation & Order: Particular Victims Unit, wrote on Twitter, forward of the scheduled occasion. The submit has since been retweeted a whole bunch of occasions, together with by quite a few different writers and media staff. Marxuach wasn’t alone in taking to social media to voice his frustration with the previous president. 

Although Obama might not be a WGA member (enjoyable reality: his daughter is), and isn’t technically a screenwriter in an official capability, many nonetheless view the transfer as in poor style.

“You may quibble or be pedantic in regards to the actual contours of our picket line and the precise obligations of non-members with respect to our strike, however it’s clear right here that Obama violated the spirit of the strike by carrying on together with his promotional duties for Netflix proper now, one thing {that a} zillion very fancy and highly effective Hollywood showrunners have stopped doing as a way to assist the union,” Hamilton Nolan, labor journalist and writer, wrote in an a Substack entry, printed Friday.

Obama may have made an actual assertion by opting out of his scheduled present promo, Nolan factors out. Such an motion may need supplied a significant increase to The Writers Guild and demonstrated the stakes of the strike to Netflix and co. However the former president selected to not, and in doing so flubbed an enormous alternative to train his large affect.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as any shock. Regardless of Obama trying to place himself as an advocate for staff in his post-presidency semi-retirement, he was not precisely a dependable labor ally throughout his presidency, as some identified on-line. Whereas in workplace, Obama forcibly shut down a number of strikes, successfully neutering the collective organizing efforts of Philadelphia’s transit staff, West Coast port staff, and freight rail staff nationwide.

Gizmodo reached out to The Obama Presidential Heart, The Workplace of Barack and Michelle Obama, and The Obama Basis for remark. None supplied a response by publication time. Spokespersons from Netflix and from WGA-West additionally didn’t instantly reply to questions. This text will likely be up to date in the event that they do.

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