September 28, 2023

Fran Drescher Says ‘There’s No Way To Predict’ How Long SAG Attack Could Last (Exclusive)

The former “Nanny” actress and president of the SAG-AFTRA union spoke to PEOPLE after a Thursday press conference announcing the strike

<p>CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty</p>
<p> SAG-AFTRA Chairman Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland announce the strike” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/”/><noscript><img alt=CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty

SAG-AFTRA Chairman Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland announce the strike” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MA–/” class=”caas-img”/>


SAG-AFTRA Chairman Fran Drescher and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland announce the strike

Fran Drescher, president of SAG-AFTRA, tells PEOPLE “there is no way to predict” how long the Hollywood actors’ strike will last.

“It’s just begun,” Drescher continued in an interview on Thursday after she and the union’s national director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland announced the strike.

Negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and SAG-AFTRA (which stands for Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) broke down after several weeks of talks.

SAG-AFTRA members sought wage and residual increases, higher ceilings for pension and health insurance premiums, and regulation of the use of artificial intelligence, among other things.

Members went on strike on Friday, effectively halting production of most television series and films.

Related: SAG strike rules: What Hollywood actors can and can’t do until a resolution is reached

Crabtree-Ireland, speaking to PEOPLE along with Drescher, added: “This strike will end when [the AMPTP] are ready to come to the table and make a fair deal with our members.”

“I hope that’s next week. But if that’s next month, or if it’s two months from now or more, I’m confident that our members will stand united and strong until the companies come back to the table and make a fair deal with us.” he said.

Drescher agreed that union members would stand strong. “Until they’re ready to come back to the table and talk to us, we’ll let them know they’re holding us back,” she said.

Earlier, Drescher called out Hollywood executives in an impassioned speech at the press conference.

“We are falling victim to a very greedy entity. I am appalled by the way the people we have done business with are treating us,” she said.

Hollywood execs “advocate poverty that they are losing money left and right while giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. It’s disgusting. They should be ashamed. They are on the wrong side of history right now,” she continued.

Related: Everything you need to know about the SAG strike and how it will affect TV and movies

The actress pleaded with the union that it was time for new terms under their contract.

“The whole business model has changed because of streaming, digital, AI. This is a historic moment that is a moment of truth. If we are not upright now, then we are all will be in trouble,” she said.

She continued, “We are all are in danger of being replaced by machines and big corporations, who care more about Wall Street than you and your family. Most Americans don’t have more than $500 for emergencies. This is a very big problem and it weighed heavily on us. But at some point you have to say, ‘No, we’re not taking this anymore. You people are crazy! What are you doing? Why are you doing this?’ ”

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<p>Mario Tama/Getty</p>
<p> SAG-AFTRA members join striking WGA members” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/″/><noscript><img alt=Mario Tama/Getty

SAG-AFTRA members join striking WGA members” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY0MQ–/″ class=”caas-img”/>

Mario Tama/Getty

SAG-AFTRA members join striking WGA members

Hollywood execs privately view actors as “the center of the wheel,” Drescher claimed.

“But actions speak louder than words, and there was nothing [in AMPTP’s contract offer]. It was offensive. So we came together in strength and solidarity and unity with the largest strike authorization vote in the history of our union. And we’ve made the tough decision that we’re telling you as we’re in front of you today, this is important.

In a statement Thursday, the AMPTP said, according to ABC News: “We are deeply disappointed that SAG-AFTRA has decided to stop negotiations. This is the Union’s choice, not ours. residual increases, significantly higher caps on pension and health insurance contributions, audition protection, shorter series option periods, a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses, and more.”

“Instead of continuing to negotiate, SAG-AFTRA has set us on a course that will exacerbate the financial hardships of thousands who depend on the industry for their livelihoods. There are 160,000 members of SAG-AFTRA and more than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America.”

But Crabtree-Ireland told PEOPLE that it is the AMPTP that is responsible for forcing the union to strike.

“They can end this strike at any time. They know exactly what our members need to get a fair deal. They just have to sign on the dotted line,” he said.

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