Hannah Einbinder at the 34th GLAAD Media Awards held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 30, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Variety via Getty Images)

‘Hacks’ star Hannah Einbinder calls AMPTP’s response to SAG-AFTRA, WGA calls ‘inhumane’ and ‘disrespectful’

In “Hacks,” Hannah Einbinder plays a disgruntled Hollywood writer struggling to chart her career path in the soul-crushing studio system. Now, fact is catching up with fiction, and Einbinder is one of many SAG-AFTRA members going on strike alongside the WGA.

“We live in a time when the average actor has to earn $26,000 to qualify for health insurance, and over 80% of Guild members are ineligible for health insurance. There’s a list of very reasonable, very basic human rights demands that a lot of people on the negotiating committee have supported that the studios have refused to be reasonable about,” Einbinder told IndieWire on Friday, while picketing outside the Burbank studio of the production company “Hacks” Warner Bros.

SAG-AFTRA went on strike on Thursday after the guild rejected terms given by the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP) during negotiations for a new contract. Issues dividing both negotiating sides include AI protections and revamped residual models. With their work stoppage, SAG members join WGA members in the picket line, after that guild went on strike starting in May.

“We haven’t had enough of a collective understanding of how awful the AI ​​takeover is and how fast it’s becoming a reality and how absolutely AMPTP is trying to completely replace writers and actors,” Einbinder told IndieWire . “You know, they’re already trying to put that kind of wording into these contracts and it’s not possible for us to continue, if they don’t listen to our wishes on those matters.”

Einbinder also faced the controversial and much criticized Expiring item published on Tuesday, shortly before SAG went on strike, in which several named AMPTP guild members revealed their strategy for the WGA strike is to shut down discussions until the fall, in an attempt to “bleed” the guild until the i members do not face serious financial consequences, up to the loss of the house. Einbinder said the article demonstrates that studios undervalue corporations as a collective, calling their position a “distorted perspective” of the typical financial realities of industry creatives.

“Disrespectful, doesn’t even cover it. That’s not a strong enough word,” Einbinder told IndieWire. “Frankly, it’s inhumane, and they don’t understand what a horrible position the average writer and actor has been put into so far, and that the average writer and actor knows how to survive in the time of the strike because it is not very different from when we are not on strike”.

During the interview, Einbinder also pushed against misconceptions about how WGA and SAG-AFTRA members make a living, pointing out how the residuals model negatively affected guild members’ abilities to make a living and caused disparity in who can afford it. make a living acting and writing in the Hollywood system.

“This isn’t the ’90s, as the ‘Friends’ numbers and all the network sitcom figures that existed have completely vanished in the streaming age. For most members of these unions, it’s on a different planet than it once was,” Einbinder said. “I understand, the inclination of both viewers and fans to ask questions and say, ‘Aren’t you guys like these spoiled rich people?’ And in some cases yes, there are wealthy actors, for sure. There are definitely rich writers and show runners. But the vast majority of people who work in this industry just can’t get away with it.

Speaking about how double strikes fit into larger conversations about strikes and wealth disparities in the United States, Einbinder said he believes the high visibility of the strikes could inspire workers in other industries to participate in similar strikes. Einbinder further speculated that part of the reason involved tech conglomerates like Apple or Amazon don’t want to submit to WGA or SAG-AFTRA’s demands is because they could be setting an example for their workers in different industries.

“The heads of these huge conglomerates across all industries don’t want to set a precedent here. We have their eyes on us, obviously because so much of our industry is an outward-facing element, but I think the powers that be, the corporate overlords who are denying us our basic necessities, I think they don’t want to set an example by listening to our requests,” Einbinder said. “Because then it will inspire more union organizing and more riots across the country. And I think they’re afraid of that because their business model depends on abusing people.

Season 3 of ‘Hacks’ was one of many shows that shut down production in May after the WGA strike began; Co-creator Lucia Aniello confirmed the news on Twitter, stating that “Writing happens at every stage of the process, production and post included. It’s what makes good shows and movies. It’s what makes them possible.”

Watch Einbinder’s interview with IndieWire below.