Dear Gossips,

The writers’ strike is entering its 20th week, and things are happening, none of it particularly good. Drew Barrymore is resuming her daytime talk show, with The Talk and The Jennifer Hudson Show following suit. Bill Maher is also resuming Real Time without writers. Bill Maher sucks so no one is surprised he is a scab, but Drew is a real letdown. Let’s be clear—no matter what anyone says in the sweetest possible voice, there is no way to be a unionized show and go into production while the strike is ongoing and NOT be a scab. Drew Barrymore is a scab. She is scabbing. She is forcing her crew to scab.


But I don’t want to focus on that. I want to focus on this repetitive language I keep hearing in all these reports, and in the rumors of growing frustrations among the top-tier showrunners, some of whom are scheduled to meet with the WGA leadership today. I keep hearing “we need to get back to work”. It started with Drew, who said that “this is bigger than just me”, which seemed to be a reference to the crew and other workers on the show who are forced out of work while the strikes are ongoing. 

Bill Maher said it plainly, It is time to bring people back to work.

Bill Maher's tweet

Once again, Bill Maher sucks and he doesn’t think writers are “owed” a living. Technically, no one is owed anything, Bill, but if you employ people to do a job, and they do that job, yes, they are owed a living, that is the literal definition of a job. Otherwise, what are we even doing? Let’s abolish money and just hang out and be cool and groovy. Anyway, on September 13, Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann said at a conference that “we need to get back to work”. 

Drew Barrymore alludes to resuming her show for “bigger” reasons than her on September 10, Bill Maher says the same thing in plainer language on September 13, and also on September 13, a Netflix honcho is talking about getting back to work. And as all this is happening, the richest showrunners in television—people who are losing development deals and potentially tens of millions of dollars, if not more—are meeting with WGA leadership about…getting back to work.


That phrase is suddenly everywhere. We need to get back to work. And it’s not coming from the working or middle-class members of the entertainment industry, it’s coming from very rich people who can comfortably afford to shut the f-ck up for a while.

But it’s about the work! The people! Who are out of work! The writers and actors are on strike, but these actions have forced thousands of people out of employment, as well. It’s a hardship for everyone, yet all summer we have seen a swell of pro-labor support not witnessed in America in decades. IATSE members, Teamsters, non-union laborers, people who run entertainment-adjacent businesses like catering and security companies, they are all taking a hit and yet holding picket lines and “sympathy striking” with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.


Look, it might all be a coincidence. Maybe I had too much time on my hands, standing in lines during TIFF this week. But I just can’t stop thinking about how all of a sudden there is a unified talking point for ending the strikes, but not one based on resolving real issues and addressing wage shortfalls and other economic pressures. No, it’s a talking point that seems designed to drive wedges between various labor factions in the industry. The writers are keeping you out of work. The actors are why you’re not getting paid. Not us, the people with the actual checkbooks. Them.

And I cannot stop thinking about how, less than one month ago, AMPTP hired a crisis management firm to push a “fresh messaging strategy”. Again, might all be a coincidence. I might have been a little bored in line. Or maybe…

Maybe it isn’t. Which is f-cking sinister. 

Attached - Oscar Isaac on strike yesterday in New York. 

Live long and gossip,