Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Local writers and actors rally for fair treatment

Actors%2C+writers%2C+and+supporters+gather+in+front+of+Louis+Armstrong+Park+for+a+SAG-AFTRA+New+Orleans+Local+demonstration%2C+Aug.+24%2C+2023.+The+writers+strike+has+been+ongoing+for+several+months+since+its+start+in+July.
Jacob L’Hommedieu
Actors, writers, and supporters gather in front of Louis Armstrong Park for a SAG-AFTRA New Orleans Local demonstration, Aug. 24, 2023. The writers’ strike has been ongoing for several months since its start in July.

The air filled with the shouts and car horns of solidarity in front of Louis Armstrong Park last Thursday afternoon as over a hundred people rallied to show support for the ongoing writers’ strike.

The rally took place in front of the park from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with several actors and actresses speaking out against the use of artificial intelligence technology and denouncing its use in the writer’s room.

Along with calls for the ban of A.I. in Hollywood, speakers also reiterated previous union demands for better wages, residuals, and fairer contracts, with focus on streaming entertainment.

“[These companies are] saying, ‘we can’t afford to pay actors for their work [in streaming]’.” Jim Gleason, president of SAG-AFTRA’s New Orleans Local said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s a joke.”

According to Gleason, CEOs and chairmen like Bob Iger and Rupert Murdoch make hundreds of thousands of dollars every day, with companies like Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc. making almost $1,185,000 a day.

The SAG-AFTRA has been striking alongside the Writers Guild of America for several months now, with initial protests beginning in July. Since then, several Hollywood productions have been brought to a halt, including films like Dune Part 2 and Tron: Ares which are now delayed for months if not indefinitely.

“We can wait. [These companies] think they’re going to wait us out, that we’re going to cave because we don’t have any money. We’re survivors. We already had to learn to survive. [These companies] don’t know how to survive,” Gleason said.

Gleason also added that, according to sources an associate has in Hollywood, the expected end date for the strike will be next April. In response to this, he said that the executives should “just do it now,” and agree to the terms the unions have set.

The SAG-AFTRA represents over 160,000 individuals of various artistic crafts across the country, according to their website. The New Orleans Local chapter of the SAG-AFTRA is responsible for representing the talent of Louisiana as well as Mississippi.

But the movement is not just for seasoned actors and industry veterans. Augustus Lodholz, a senior at Loyola, has been working as a stunt performer with SAG-AFTRA for around two years. He was present alongside fellow union members at the rally in order to show support for the strikes.

“These are some important contract renegotiations,” Lodholz said. “We are all supporting the strike and the right to make fair wages.”

“I’m hoping [the strike] will be over as soon as possible so that we can get some fair negotiations as quickly as possible. I’d like to start working again.”

As the rally closed out, the crowd was called to sing the chorus of ‘Solidarity Forever,’ a worker’s anthem sung to the tune of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.’

“For the union makes us strong,” they chanted in unison.

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About the Contributor
Jacob L’Hommedieu, Sports Editor
Jacob L’Hommedieu is a senior political science student with a minor in social media and is this semester’s Sports Editor. His favorite sport to play is lacrosse, while his favorite sport to watch is baseball. Contact his email, [email protected], if you have any questions or concerns.

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