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July 18, 2023

Kevin Bacon, Tina Fey join actors strike's picket lines

'Abbott Elementary' star Sheryl Lee Ralph, who is on the guild's negotiating committee, said 'Sometimes you have got to do what needs to be done'

Members of the Screen Actors Guild have been on strike since Friday over labor conditions — and several celebrities from the Philadelphia area are speaking out.

Kevin Bacon joined the picket lines in New York on Monday, carrying a sign and chanting with his peers. The Philly-born actor returned on Tuesday with his wife Kyra Sedgwick, who decried the studios for "making free money" and "chang(ing) the whole business model" without changing actor contracts.

"I'm in position, Kyra's in a be able to negotiate a lot of these points," Bacon told Deadline Hollywood. "But we're here for the base contract, for the middle and working class actors in our union, of which there are many."

Upper Darby-native Tina Fey had already been picketing with the Writers Guild of America, which announced its own work stoppage over two months ago, but was spotted Tuesday in New York carrying an orange and white sign reading "Writers Guild on Strike Stands with SAG-AFTRA."

Chester-native actress Tien Tran also joined her "How I Met Your Father" costars Hilary Duff and Francia Raisa in Los Angeles on Monday. "I'm striking because we all deserve a livable wage, everyone who works to make this industry possible from the writers to the crew to the actors," she said.

SAG-AFTRA announced a strike last week after contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down. While on strike, SAG members cannot work on movies or TV shows, appear at film festivals or premieres for finished work or grant interviews promoting completed projects. 

The actors' guild has been fighting for increased pay, increased residuals and certain protections against artificial intelligence. Their concerns largely overlap with those of the writers' guild, which argues that current streaming models have decreased their compensation. Both guilds worry that the studios will use AI to perform some of their work, either by replicating actors' likenesses or generating scripts.

"Abbott Elementary" actress Sheryl Lee Ralph has been working to finalize a contract with the AMPTP through her position on the SAG negotiating committee. Shortly after earning her second Emmy nomination for her role as Barbara Howard on the hit ABC sitcom, she told Vanity Fair, "Sometimes you have got to do what needs to be done."

"I just want everybody to understand that this isn’t about making more millions of dollars, because quiet as it’s kept, at least 80% of our union are plain old, ordinary, hardworking people who haven’t gotten a cost of living raise in 40 years, who are depending upon the kindness of big corporations, many of whom sometimes don’t really know what it is to be an artist," she continued. "God bless them, you need people who can crunch numbers, but when it starts to crunch people, that’s not good."

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