Writers and actors from WGA and SAG-AFTRA Foundation have been on strike for over a month now to combat unfair wages.
It has been slightly over a month since SAG-AFTRA went on strike. The latest name in the list of actors supporting their colleagues is Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, who was the star of "Pretty Woman" and "Erin Brockovich." And she has come up with a great way to do so.
The Oscar-winning actress is auctioning off a private meet-and-greet over lunch for a fan and one guest. She is doing so in a bid to raise money for those who cannot work because of the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes through SAG-AFTRA.
This meet-and-greet includes a meal, 90 minutes with Roberts, and a photo op. The funds raised from this lunch shall go to the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) and the Entertainment Community Fund, both of which are supporting writers and actors on the Hollywood picket lines. This meet-and-greet with Roberts is expected to raise around $40,000. The bidding shall end on August 22 and has already reached $31,000.
Charity Buzz states, "Julia Roberts is a multi-award-winning actress, producer and activist. Her films have grossed over $2.9 billion dollars, and this is your chance to meet her at a private lunch! The lunch will support the Entertainment Community Fund and the Motion Picture & Television Fund's work to provide financial assistance to film and television workers affected by work stoppages or other pauses in industry work."
On July 14, the actors’ union SAG-AFTRA went on strike. It comprises some 160,000 members. The strike was organized over working conditions, pay and other concerns related to the use of A.I. technology in the film industry. It joined the Writers Guild of America, which is a union representing thousands of Hollywood writers. The WGA hasn’t worked since early May, making it the industry’s biggest shutdown in more than six decades.
Organizations like the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and MPTF have been stepping in to provide emergency assistance in the industry since many of the unionized entertainment workers struggle financially as the picketing drags. Cyd Wilson, executive director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation told Fortune in an emailed statement that the organization was “so happy Julia Roberts is supporting everybody.”
Roberts also donated $1 million to the foundation’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program ever since the strikes began. However, she is not the first or only A-lister to contribute a huge amount via fundraising efforts.
Five-time Emmy winner and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane donated $1 million to the Entertainment Community Fund earlier this month, which also happens to be one of the organizations Roberts’s auction is supporting.
After the organization appealed to its “high-profile talent” members for financial help last month, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made a “historic” seven-figure donation to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, reported Fortune. Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds are also among the A-listers who have donated over $1 million to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s emergency hardship fund.
The organization’s president, Courtney B. Vance, who is an Emmy Award–winning actor himself, announced earlier this month that the SAG-AFTRA Foundation had raised more than $15 million in just three weeks for its financial assistance program.
Meryl Streep said, "I remember my days as a waiter, cleaner, typist, even my time on the unemployment line. 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.”