Disney CEO Bob Iger claims that the strike demands are “unrealistic” as if treating artists with the dignity and respect they deserve is too much to ask.
The current Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strikes have been an ongoing effort to confront studios’ increasing reliance on artificial intelligence technology and to correct unfair financial strategies, brought on by creating content for streaming services. In particular, artificial intelligence has become a major talking point among those involved in the strikes. Digitally using an actor’s likeness without compensation or consent infringes on their basic rights while having artificial intelligence create scripts could render the jobs of screenwriters everywhere obsolete.
Bob Iger’s Thoughts On The Strikes And His Contract Extension
In an interview with CNBC, Iger talked about his opinion on the strikes. “There’s a level of expectation that they have that is just not realistic, and they are adding to a set of challenges that this business is already facing, that is quite frankly, very disruptive,” Iger said in the interview. Iger was the CEO of Disney between 2005-2020, having been reinstated into the role after of his successor, Bob Chapek, stepped down from the role in 2022.
This comment and many others in the same interview ring a bit hollow in light of Iger receiving the $30 million contract extension. The contract extension means Iger will remain as Disney’s CEO until 2026. By that time, Disney executives might find a proper successor to Iger’s role in the company. Granted, Iger’s original tenure as Disney’s CEO paved the way for massive deals being made that led to projects like the Star Wars sequel trilogy, but this sizeable pay gap between executives like Iger and creatives is part of why writers and actors are striking for better wages.
The Importance of The Strikes And The Gap Between Studio Executives And Creatives
As noted by figures like YouTuber, Chris Stuckmann, the average writers and actors in the entertainment industry are just people struggling to get by while trying to establish their careers in the industry. It’s these people that are at the heart of the strikes, besides more well-known celebrities.
Iger’s comments and the news of his contract extension really widen the division between creatives and studio executives in the midst of the strikes. Artificial intelligence and streaming services seem to be the technology that will become the future of the industry. In the wake of these developments, actors and writers want to make sure they are correctly financially acknowledged for their work and able to further their careers without any issues. The strikes will ensure financial revenue will definitely be rightly distributed between writers and actors in the industry as well, not just the executives.
The Future of The Entertainment Industry
Technology naturally breeds change, but these strikes are an effort to adapt to the changing times, not letting those same times negatively affect the people going through them. Between the strikes and production shutdowns caused by them, the entertainment industry is in uncertain times that may get better, as long as we continue to support creative forces in the entertainment industry striking for their rights
As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes continue into the coming months, it’s important to remember the faces behind some of the most popular movies and television programs that aren’t always publicly acknowledged.
What’re your thoughts on Iger’s comments regarding the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes? What do you feel will be the outcome of both strikes? What’s your take on the role artificial intelligence and streaming services play in the demands of the writers and actors on strike? Let the Illuminerdi know on our social media. Stay tuned for updates.