More than a hundred actors, writers, and supporters gathered in front of Netflix's headquarters in Los Gatos on Thursday afternoon, as a part of the ongoing nationwide SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strike.
The Northern California chapter of SAG-AFTRA reportedly organized this protest, following several other demonstrations outside Netflix’s offices in Los Angeles and New York in the past week, according to the Mercury News. It’s reportedly the first time that the Los Gatos Netflix office location has been protested.
The unions are protesting how streaming services pay minimal residuals for actors but creates outsize revenue for executives, as well as concerns about artificial intelligence’s role in TV and films.
Union members in Northern California told ABC7 that actors here in the Bay Area don’t have as many opportunities to audition for principal roles, leading many to take on background work. However, they now fear that even background work is at risk due to the growing use of AI in the entertainment industry, because it can digitally create people for background scenes.
Actors including Michael X. Sommers from "Sorry to Bother You" and "Sense8," Anthony Abate from “The Fantasticks” and “Casa Hollywood” reportedly attended the protest. More Bay Area labor leaders joined, including Jean Cohen, Executive Officer of the South Bay Labor Council who told the Mercury News that her union supported all workers and “SAG-AFTRA’s fight for equal pay.”
San Jose Assemblymember Ash Kalra also showed up in solidarity, and reportedly called the strike “historic.” Indeed, it’s the first dual strike with both SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America in over 60 years.
“We have SAG-AFTRA coming together, because enough is enough, and the greed is real,” he told the Mercury News. “Being here in the heart of Silicon Valley, it’s wonderful to have technology, but that same technology… also creates the most egregious inequality."
Image via Google Street View.