In a surprising turn of events, the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, David Zaslav, was greeted with a solemn boo during his commencement address at Boston University. Students and attendees expressed their discontent over the alleged lack of payment to screenwriters from the entertainment industry. This incident highlights growing tensions between movie and television studios and Hollywood writers’ unions, which have been fighting for their workers’ rights for years.
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The boo directed at David Zaslav it was not an isolated event. It represents the pent-up outrage among screenwriters who have faced difficulties in their search for fair pay. Boston University students and assistants took the opportunity to show their solidarity with the screenwriters and support the fight for better working conditions in the entertainment industry, as evidenced by the video of Mike Scollins on his Twitter account.
Zaslav being hit with a ‘Pay Your Writers’ chant in Boston. This is so good.
Zaslav getting hit with a Pay Your Writers chant in Boston. This is so good. pic.twitter.com/00pL4ahAqZ
—Mike Scollins (@mikescollins) May 21, 2023
The incident exposed by the screenwriter of Late Night with Seth Meyers, also highlights the connection to the Hollywood writers’ union strike, which has been a recurring concern in recent years. Screenwriters have demanded fairer wages, better working conditions and greater protection of their intellectual property rights. The writers’ union strike in 2007-2008 was a notable example of their fighting for these demands, and while some improvements were achieved, challenges remain.
Non-paying screenwriters has become a hot topic in the entertainment industry. Although audiovisual productions generate large profits, some writers face difficulties in receiving adequate compensation for their work. The growing trend towards streaming platforms and the proliferation of digital content has generated a change in business models, often resulting in unfavorable contracts for screenwriters. Many writers fight for fair royalties and equitable contracts that reflect the value of their creative work.
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Zaslav, responsible for approving the reboot of the universe with James Gunn (The suicide squad – 91%), took advantage of his presence to express his gratitude to the university where he trained as a lawyer in 1985. Although his intention was not to talk about the strike by the Writers Guild of America, the hearing protest forced him to stop at this topic and dedicate a few words.
I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be a part of today’s graduation ceremony and awarding me an honorary degree, and as I have often said, I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved. promptly and in a way that they feel recognizes their value
The protest at Boston University not only highlights the frustration towards Warner Bros. Discovery, but also serves as a wake-up call to the entire entertainment industry. It’s a reminder that screenwriters are an essential part of making movies and TV shows, and they deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.
The executive, through an interview to Squawk Box, mentioned that “everyone deserves to be paid fairly.” His main interest is trying to resolve it fairly. “Let’s do it in a way that writers feel that they are valued, that they are, and that they are fairly compensated. And then we leave. Let’s tell great stories together,” were his statements on May 5, after the publication of the company first quarter earnings report.
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It is important that film and television studios recognize the essential role of writers and work collaboratively with unions to find win-win solutions. Collective bargaining and open dialogue can help address writers’ concerns and ensure they are properly compensated for their work.
The booing of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav during his commencement speech at Boston University reflects the writers’ frustration and outrage over lack of pay and working conditions. Until now, many productions and contents for different services of streaming are suspended for not writing their scripts (The Last of Us – 97%, Merlina – 69%, among other). We will see what solution is reached and if the productions resume the recordings as soon as possible.