President Biden called for a “fair deal” for Hollywood’s striking writers on Monday.
Unionized movie and television writers went on strike last week after contract negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the trade association Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios, broke down.
Biden made his remarks, siding with the writers, during a screening at the White House of the movie, “American Born Chinese” as part of a celebration of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
“Nights like these are a reminder of stories and the importance of treating storytellers with the dignity, respect and the value they deserve,” Biden said. “I sincerely hope the writers strike in Hollywood gets resolved and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
His remarks came even though last week, when the strike broke out, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had said, “You’ve heard us say many times before, we don’t speak to an ongoing strike”—but she also added at the time that the President “supports labor.”
The strike’s main sticking points reportedly include union proposals that would require companies to staff television shows with a certain number of writers for a specific period of time.
“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union work force, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing,” the Writers Guild has said in a statement, adding that the writers face an “existential crisis” amid the emerging dominance of streaming services which the union says has led to the reduction of media writer-producer pay 4%, or 23% when adjusted for inflation.
The studios, meanwhile, have countered that they’ve offered “generous increases in compensation for writers.”
At the movie screening Monday, Biden also took time to speak out against prejudice and violence against Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
“Hate can have no safe harbor in America,” Biden said.