The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) have been on strike since July 14, demanding equitable pay.
According to Forbes, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is at number 4 on its 2022 list of Highest Paid Entertainers with $270 million in earnings. Now, the star has made a historic seven-figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), representing more than 160,000 film and television actors, have been on strike since July 14, demanding equitable pay, reports ET Online. "The Mummy Returns" star is helping out union members who are financially struggling amid the strike.
SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance and executive director Cyd Wilson confirmed Johnson's donation to Variety. "We rely on donations and grants to provide services — we have been very fortunate that we raised enough money to be able to cover all of our programs," Wilson explained. "But when we hit a crisis like this and we're going to spend millions and millions of dollars in financial assistance, this is when we need our high profile talent who can afford it, who are in a situation to help others."
As for the former professional wrestler's donation, Vance said it was "a call to arms for all of us to know that we just have to step up however you can. If your step up is $10, step up. Because that $10 is going to help somebody. If it's $10,000, if it's $10 million, step up because we have to. Everyone knows what happens when you go on strike when you stand for something — as the saying goes if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for everything — you can't stand unless you have support underneath you, on the side, up top and up front. So Dwayne is letting everyone know, 'I'm here. What are you going to do?'" The Rock's massive donation is said to be the largest lump sum the foundation has received from a single donor since its creation in 1985, a representative told HuffPost, calling it a "milestone."
Johnson’s donation to SAG-AFTRA will reportedly help 7,000 to 10,000 of his fellow union members. https://t.co/1x2FLCijfi— HuffPost (@HuffPost) July 25, 2023
According to CNBC, Hollywood artists are also asking for better wages, working conditions, health and pension benefits. They also hope to see guardrails while using artificial intelligence in future television and film production. "We are the victims here," said Fran Drescher, president of the actors union, during a news conference. "We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us." The union also wants more transparency from streaming services about viewership so that residual payments can be made equitably.
The AMPTP responded to the strike with a statement that it "presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors' digital likenesses."
Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director and chief negotiator for SAG-AFTRA, responded by saying, "In that groundbreaking AI proposal, they proposed that our background performers should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day's pay, and their company should own that scan, their image, their likeness and should be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation," he said. "So if you think that's a groundbreaking proposal, I suggest you think again." Drescher added that their response to the actors' proposals was "insulting," reports CNBC.