The former president of the Screen Actors’ Guild has criticised SAG-AFTRA’s policy on what Halloween costumes its striking members are allowed to wear.
The union has warned its members against dressing up as characters from film or television shows this Halloween on the basis that any such costumes would promote content made by the studios that the actors are in dispute with. Instead, they should “choose costumes inspired by generalised characters and figures (ghost, zombie, spider, etc)”.
SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, began its strike on July 14 over an ongoing labour dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Talks between the two parties restarted on October 2, but broke down again on October 11, with studios saying that negotiations were “no longer moving us in a positive direction.”
The two sides have so far failed to come to an agreement over a deal, with SAG-AFTRA demanding increased pay, a share of streaming revenues and protection against actors’ images and voices being replicated by artificial intelligence. Most production of American films and television at major studios has been on hold since the strike began.
Now, Melissa Gilbert, who was president of the union between 2001 and 2005, has called out SAG-AFTRA out for the policy, which she said she thinks is “silly bullshit” and “infantile.”
“THIS is what you guys come up with? Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween,” Gilbert wrote on Instagram. “I mean, do you really think this kind of infantile stuff is going to end the strike? We look like a joke. Please tell me you’re going to make this rule go away… and go negotiate!”
Gilbert then directly tagged the Instagram accounts of current SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, writing, “For the love of God, people are suffering mightily and this is what you have to say… c’mon guys… This is the kind of silly bullshit that keeps us on strike. ‘Let’s enact a policy that makes us look petty and incompetent at the same time.’”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from SAG-AFTRA told Variety: “SAG-AFTRA issued Halloween guidance in response to questions from content creators and members about how to support the strike during this festive season. This was meant to help them avoid promoting struck work, and it is the latest in a series of guidelines we have issued.
“It does not apply to anyone’s kids. We are on strike for important reasons, and have been for nearly 100 days. Our number one priority remains getting the studios back to the negotiating table so we can get a fair deal for our members, and finally put our industry back to work.”
Mandy Moore calls out SAG-AFTRA for strict Halloween costume rules:
“Is this a joke? Come on @sagaftra. This is what’s important? We’re asking you to negotiate in good faith on our behalf. So many folks across every aspect of this industry have been sacrificing mightily for… pic.twitter.com/2LO0THjYm6
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) October 21, 2023
I look forward to screaming “scab” at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) October 19, 2023
Gilbert hasn’t been the only person to criticise the policy. Mandy Moore also called the union out on her social media, writing: “Is this a joke? Come on SAG-AFTRA. This is what’s important? We’re asking you to negotiate in good faith on our behalf. So many folks across every aspect of this industry have been sacrificing mightily for months. Get back to the table and get a fair deal so everyone can get back to work. Please and thank you.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Reynolds, who is a member of the union made fun of the policy, commenting: “I look forward to screaming “scab” at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn.”