Warner Bros. Discovery CEO booed during Boston University commencement speech: 'Pay your writers!'
Usually, commencement speeches are supposed to inspire a graduating class, filling them with hope, wisdom, and/or guidance.
But for many students at Boston University, Warner Bros. Discover CEO David Zaslav's speech filled them with the overwhelming urge to heckle.
VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav
Amid the Writers Guild strike, B.U. failed to read the room and invited the head of a major studio, whom writers are actively striking against to secure fair pay and maybe not get replaced by AI chatbots.
Zaslav, who also received an honorary degree, delivered his 20-minute speech peppered with boo's from the class of '23, who frequently interrupted the CEO's "inspiring" words with a few of their own, namely, "We don't want you here," "Pay your writers," and "Shut up Zaslav!"
Chants of “pay your writers!” during David Zaslav’s BU commencement speech: pic.twitter.com/x65XwmIxgD
— Tyler Ruggeri (@t_ruggeri) May 21, 2023
When B.U. announced Zaslav would be delivering the commencement, the WGA countered with their own announcement that they'd be picketing the event. The picket and the chanting were organized by B.U.'s Young Democratic Socialists of America, in conjunction with WGA East, Boston DSA, and the DSA-LA Hollywood.
"Some people will be looking for a fight," Zaslav said during his doomed delivery, causing the audience to erupt in a fit of mocking laughter.
If the studio honcho didn't get the message from the sassy seniors shading the very life out of him, there was also this convenient plane carrying the message, "David Zaslav - Pay Your Writers."
David Zaslav, Head Of Warner Brothers / Discovery Is Getting An Honorary Degree At Boston University - A plane towed this message circling the ceremony
“David Zaslav - Pay Your Writers”#WGA #WGAStrike #Writers #Screenwriters #screenplay pic.twitter.com/WF5p3rVgYV
— K. B. (@kbsez) May 21, 2023
At least one lesson was learned at Boston University this day: brevity is the soul of embarrassing the hell out of your corporate overlords.