“Because the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] remains unwilling to offer a fair deal on key issues essential to protecting the livelihoods of working actors and performers, SAG-AFTRA’s national board unanimously voted to issue a strike order against studios and streamers,” SAG National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said in a press conference.
“Union members should withhold their labor until a fair contract can be achieved,” he told the room. “They have left us with no alternative.”
The strike involves more than 150,000 television and movie actors and picket lines began on Friday (14 July) morning, marking the first time since 1960 that both actors and writers have picketed film and television production companies. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike since early May.
Last weekend, Drescher travelled to Puglia for a promotional event with Dolce & Gabbana and appeared in a selfie with Kardashian, who was also at the event.
However, critics accused Drescher of being “tone deaf” for posing with Kardashian, who reportedly crossed the WGA picket line in New York to film her forthcoming season of American Horror Story.
“My union president chilling in Italy while we’re in the middle of negotiations and about to go on strike,” tweeted actor Kirk Acevedo.
“We’re asking to be better compensated by the studios and Fran Drescher is mugging for cameras in Italy. The optics look f***ing terrible.”
Writer Taffy Brodesser Akner added: “Some real let them eat cake vibes for the SAG-AFTRA members who were marching alongside us WGA members just this morning.”
However, on Thursday, during the press conference in which the SAG-AFTRA national board formally announced the strike, Drescher addressed the controversy and the reason why she took the photograph.
“I’m a brand ambassador for a fashion company, and so is Kim,” she said.
“I had only met Kim seconds before that publicity photo was taken. It had nothing to do with being at a party or having fun, it was absolute work.
“I was in hair and makeup three hours a day, walking in heels on cobblestones doing things like that, which is work and not fun.
“I’m sure Kim would have rather been at her home in Malibu with her children as well. It’s work, and that’s what we do.”