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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Barack Obama vehemently supports the WGA strike

The former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has offered his support to the Writers Guild of America strike that is approaching its second month of action. In a new livestream event for LinkedIn, Obama noted how it is important that the writers in the entertainment industry are treated fairly.

He told host Ira Glass (via The Wrap), “I know there are many studios and streamers who feel a little bit embattled, and there’s been a little bit too much of a glut of product, and they’re looking at their bottom line and their experiencing shareholder pressure, etc., but the fact is, is that they wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for writers creating the stories that matter.”

As for his wishes on how the strike may end, the ex-president noted, “My hope is that as somebody who’s really supportive of the Writer’s Guild and as someone who just believes in storytelling and the craft of it.”

“I’m hoping that they will be compensated and the importance of what they do will be reflected in whatever settlement’s arrived at,” Obama added. I’m very supportive of the writers and the strike, and I’m hopeful that they get a fair share of the fruits of their labor.”

As a result of the strike, a number of high-profile productions have been halted, including the directorial debut of Aziz Ansari, which has been put on hold once again. Good Fortune, the comedy film written and directed by Ansari starring himself, Keanu Reeves and Seth Rogen, has shut down production amid the dispute.

Lionsgate closed production earlier this month. Production crew members are optimistic that work on the film will resume once the strike has ended. According to sources familiar with the film, the production had been operating according to strike rules, with Ansari directing but not writing any additional material for the movie. Picketers previously interrupted production on May 16th and May 17th while it attempted to shoot in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

Good Fortune joins a number of films and television shows that have shut down due to the writer’s strike, including Marvel’s upcoming Blade reboot and most Late Night television programmes in the US.

This is the second shutdown that has befallen Good Fortune. The film had previously seen a temporary halted when original star Bill Murray was accused of “inappropriate behaviour” on the set. “Our hope is to resume production … [we] are working with Aziz and Youree to figure out that timing,” the studio said at the time. Murray was subsequently released from the cast.

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