Hollywood is a place that has always fascinated people with its exciting stories and glamorous appeal. But beneath its shiny surface, there is a darker side with unfair practices and questionable motives. Throughout its history, Hollywood has often cared more about money and influence than creating meaningful content, publishing basically copy-pasta again and again for easy profit, spread harmful stereotypes, etc. Hollywood’s pursuit of fame and fortune often overshadows its responsibility to inspire positive change. Let us go through some of their history and recent actions towards their writers.
The Cinema History
First, a bit of history. This is not the first time hollywood and its studios/CEOs have shown to be extremely corrupt and cruel to everyone who works there. If you make a quick search, you’ll find hundreds of criminal cases and abuses of power from them, both in recent times and decades ago.
- Harvey Weinstein Sexual Assault and Harassment Cases:
-Date: October 2017
-What Happened: Harvey Weinstein, a prominent film producer, was accused of sexual assault and harassment by numerous women, sparking the #MeToo movement. In 2020, Weinstein was found guilty of rape and sexual assault and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
- Roman Polanski’s Sexual Abuse:
-What Happened: Renowned filmmaker Roman Polanski pled guilty to the unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, a 13-year-old girl. However, he fled the United States before his sentencing and has since evaded extradition.
- Les Moonves Sexual Harassment:
-What Happened: CEO and Chairman of CBS Corporation, he faced allegations of sexual harassment and assault from multiple women, including employees and actresses and stepped down as CEO in September 2018 following the allegations. He was later denied his $120 million severance package by the company.
- John Lasseter Inappropriate behavior:
-What Happened: Former Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, faced allegations of inappropriate behavior, including unwanted physical contact and remarks of a sexual nature.
- Amy Pascal Racism:
-What Happened: The former co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, became involved in a controversy when private emails were hacked and released to the public. The leaked emails contained offensive and racially insensitive remarks.
- Kevin Tsujihara sexual impropriety:
-What Happened: Kevin Tsujihara, former CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment, faced allegations of sexual impropriety with an actress and using his position to advance her career.
And these are only a few examples.
Writers Go on Strike
Hollywood has massively increased its investments in movie production over the years. Back in the 2000s era, movies such as “Avatar”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” had budgets averaging 150 million dollars. A single decade later, and that number more than doubled: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” had budgets surpassing 336 Million on average. Studio profits have also increased by 39% in the same time period.
This however did not trickle-down to writers. In fact, their wages went DOWN: the median weekly pay for writers declined 23% in the past 10 years, when adjusting for inflation, says The Writers Guild of America. As expected, this lead to the union and its participants to go on a strike, starting May 2 2023 and thats still on going during the time of this writing, as they tried and failed to get the CEOs of those massive studios to improve their payment and conditions during negotiations on multiple occasions.
More recently, things got even worse: In an article from journal Deadline, “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” said a studio executive, “a cruel but necessary evil.”, said one insider. Thankfully, at the same time, actors and actresses have joined the side of the writers and many have also gone on strike.
In conclusion, the Hollywood writers’ strike reflects the disparity between the people at the top and the ones at the bottom of “the money chain”, a phenomena that has become increasingly common place nowadays. Despite currently failed efforts, as greed has spoken louder for the CEOs, the strike continues, which brings hope not just for their area but for all of society as this might enter history as a great example of how to fight for better conditions and your rights.
Read more: List of highest-grossing films