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Why A-Listers are Donating Millions to the SAG-AFTRA Fund

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As the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike continues to impact Hollywood, some of the entertainment industry’s foremost names are showing their support in a big way. On Wednesday, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation announced it raised over $15 million dollars in three weeks to support its Emergency Financial Assistance Program (which provides resources to union members).

President Courtney Vance revealed an impressive list of donors, each of whom contributed $1 million or more to the fund: George and Amal Clooney, Luciana and Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness, Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, Julia Roberts, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey.

“Dwayne Johnson helped kick-start this campaign by giving a historic seven-figure donation,” Vance explained in a statement. “And, two longtime champions of our Foundation and leaders on our Actors Council, Meryl Streep and George Clooney, stepped up with $1 million donations, emails, and many calls to action rallying others to give generously.”

Members of SAG-AFTRA and WGA have been on strike since July 14th and May 2nd, respectively. They are demanding an increased share of streaming residuals, better minimum pay, job security for writers, improved working conditions, a limit on the use of AI, among other points.

While being an A-List celebrity is as financially lucrative as ever, the changing economics of Hollywood has made it harder than ever for below-the-line working actors to eek out a secure living and maintain basic benefits. Thus, why some of Hollywood’s biggest stars are stepping up to show their support.

SAG-AFTRA represents over 160,000 actors, 86% percent of who struggle to pay their health insurance. The union’s disputes are levied against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents over 350 TV and film production companies.

In addition to their donations, George Clooney and Meryl Streep (two longtime members of the union) called on the companies in question to end the strikes. “We stand ready to get back to the table and make a fair deal with the AMPTP” Clooney noted. “Until then, I’m proud to be able to support the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and my fellow actors who may be struggling in this historic moment.”

“I remember my days as a waiter, cleaner, typist, even my time on the unemployment line,” Streep said. “In this strike action, I am lucky to be able to support those who will struggle in a long action to sustain against Goliath. We will stand strong together against these powerful corporations who are bent on taking the humanity, the human dignity, even the human out of our profession.”

Source: W Magazine

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