Hollywood will remain in suspense Thursday as negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continue.
The parties were in talks until Wednesday evening, talking about AI — This has proved to be a key factor in the rejection of these treaty talks — and other topics, a union source said. As with previous negotiating dates this week, Hollywood CEOs were absent from talks hosted by AMPTP President Carole Lombardini on the executive side.
“Things are still moving, but slowly,” a studio source said when reached Wednesday.
Hence SAG-AFTRA wrote in a message “The negotiating team met today to discuss and finalize our response to the AMPTP AI counter-proposal we received yesterday,” it told its members following Wednesday’s talks. Negotiators met with AMPTP representatives for over three hours this afternoon and evening to present and review our revised plan. We continue to await AMPTP’s response to our comprehensive set of counter-proposals that we presented on Saturday to resolve the outstanding issues.
As of Tuesday, a deal appeared to be in sight, despite concerns over entertainment companies’ uses of AI, including security. Earlier in the day, a studio source indicated that it could take days to reach a resolution on the remaining deal points on the table, while several key actors said they had been told a tentative deal could be reached soon.
Members of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating team, including President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, joined a crowded “unity picket” at the Disney Studios in Burbank, before negotiations began at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. In front of Disney’s main gate is a sign that says “Your offer is bananas! Bananas!” and “Bxtch Betta keep my money.”
In a video message shared on SAG-AFTRA’s social media, Crabtree-Ireland emphasized that members of other entertainment unions such as the IATSE and Teamsters also showed up. “Everyone is supporting us today and sending a message to these companies that they need to make it across the finish line and make a fair deal with us,” he said.
In his own video message on social media Wednesday, Drescher addressed his negotiating style after reports surfaced that he attended negotiations with a plush, heart-shaped doll. “I can be right, I can lead with intelligence, I can lead with wisdom, I can lead with empathy, I can be me,” he said. “I can guide and still hold a little silk doll in the shape of a heart that I call ‘love’.”
Kim Masters contributed to the report.