SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher made an appearance on the “Today” show Friday morning to share her perspective on why the union’s talks with the AMPTP broke down.
“It really came as a shock to me because what does that exactly mean and why would you walk away from the table? It’s not like we’re asking for anything that’s so outrageous,” Drescher said. “It’s so wrong. And it’s so unfair that they walked out of the meeting, and so disrespectful … I mean, they talk at you. They really don’t want to hear what you have to say or why you’re saying it.”
On Wednesday night, the AMPTP announced that talks with SAG-AFTRA had been suspended, saying the gap between the two sides is “too great” and that “conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction.” SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since July, joining the Writers Guild of America on the picket line. But whereas the writer’s strike ended on Sept. 27, the AMPTP has yet to strike a deal with the actors, though things felt hopeful when the two resumed discussions on Oct. 2.
In an interview with Variety, SAG-AFTRA chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland said that the studios rejected the union’s request for a 2% share of streaming revenue. So on Wednesday, the actors proposed that they instead be paid a set rate per subscriber of all the major streaming platforms. But the two parties disagreed on just how much that would cost, with SAG-AFTRA estimating $500 million per year and the AMPTP countering that it could be as much as $800 million.
At a Bloomberg conference on Thursday, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos elaborated on why that proposal contributed to negotiations coming to a halt.
“We had very productive talks going, then what kind of happened last night — they introduced this levy on subscribers, on top of… historic highs in terms of increases across the board,” Sarandos said, adding that “it just felt like a bridge too far to add this deep into the negotiation.”
Watch Drescher’s interview on “Today” below.