Actress turned daytime talk show host Drew Barrymore finds herself on the wrong side of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. She has made the decision to bring back her talk show while the WGA and SAG-AFTRA unions are on strike.
Just like Bill Maher earlier this week, Barrymore announced the return of her talk show and the blowback was swift. Also like Maher, Barrymore cites that the show employs more than writers and those people need to be able to work.
When she made the announcement, she explained that she supports the strikers and has made decisions that reflect that support. Her point is that her show goes on through some difficult times, like the pandemic and now the strike. “Our show was built for sensitive times…”
In her earlier statement in which she said was returning to her daytime show, Barrymore said “I made a choice to walk away from the MTV, film and television awards because I was the host and it had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television,” Barrymore said in a statement she shared on Instagram. “It was also in the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers.”
She continued, “And to be clear, our talk show actually wrapped on April 20th so we never had to shut down the show. However, I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me. I own this choice. We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility.”
The perpetually outraged on social media did their thing. Lots of Hollyweird piled on.
“Not a great move.”
Alyssa Milano and other Hollywood union members aren’t happy with Drew Barrymore for returning to her daytime talk show during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. pic.twitter.com/cnRAg9RLMB
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) September 15, 2023
Drew Barrymore would like you to know that undermining union solidarity at the most crucial moment in Hollywood labor history makes her the victim. This has been, like, a super tough week for her. https://t.co/wtDVor9rKs
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) September 15, 2023
Funny, I don’t see them going after The View, which is another daytime talk show and it is airing during the strike.
Next, she did a 4-minute apology video on Instagram. That may have been what she thought she should do but it didn’t change the minds of her critics. However, she apparently has had a change of heart and removed the apology. Good for her. I hope this means she is showing some backbone and standing up for herself. She’s a grown-ass woman and a businesswoman who should be doing what she thinks is best for her show and its employees. She said she’ll comply with union regulations during the strike. She isn’t a scab. She’s a businesswoman. A talk show should be relatively easy to do without a team of writers. Drew can wing it. She’s a professional.
WGA issued a statement.
“Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal,” a guild spokesperson told Deadline today after the ET actress’ video went up. “In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work.”
CBS Media Ventures issued a statement, too, and noted that Drew is under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA as a talk show host.
“As The Drew Barrymore Show returns with original episodes on Monday we are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules. Our host works under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA (“The Network Code”) that allows Drew and other daytime hosts to continue hosting the show. While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends. No one on our staff will fill a writing position. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open and honest conversations to her viewers and that will continue. The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100%.”
We’ll see if Drew stands her ground and the show goes on Monday, September 18, as scheduled.