Why are Hollywood writers and actors striking? An attorney weighs in

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - For months, writers in Hollywood have been on strike — and actors recently joined in, too.

Lisa Bonner, a New York-based attorney specializing in media law, said the workers are fighting for better pay, increased residuals from streaming content and protections from artificial intelligence.

“Nobody wants to be replaced by an AI likeness of themselves and only receive one day’s pay for it,” Bonner said in Atlanta News First’s live studio on Tuesday.

Before streaming, networks used to have a set number of shows that aired in a certain time frame. But in the new digital age, actors face less scheduled content and more time in between productions, disrupting pay, Bonner said. And new artificial intelligence threatens writers’ and actors’ control over their words and faces.

“The strike isn’t just for famous and often wealthy actors,” Bonner said. “It’s about the guest stars, co-stars and background actors.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Atlanta industry members gather for SAG-AFTRA support rally amid strike

The Writers Guild of America began its strike on May 2. Last Friday, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) decided to join. Hollywood actors and writers haven’t been on strike together since 1960.

Professionals in Atlanta, where the TV and film industry is worth $4 billion, rallied in Midtown on Monday.

“Atlanta is ... a major contributor to the stories told on our screens,” Eric Goins, SAG-AFTRA’s Atlanta president, said. “If we don’t have consent, compensation and control over our own image, then our ability to make a life and career in this industry will come to a close.”

Hope Dean

Hope Dean

Hope Dean is a digital content producer with Atlanta News First. She previously reported for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Fresh Take Florida.