Speaking of the strategic deployment of celebrities to the picket lines during the double strike, here is Alexandra Shipp, hot off the success of Barbie, picketing in Los Angeles yesterday. It’s a smart move, sending Shipp—recognizable but not a major star—to the picket line during Barbie’s victory lap. It’s a reminder that working actors don’t get to share in the blockbuster success of a film like Barbie, and that’s why they’re on strike. Warner Bros. Discovery and Mattel have hauled in nearly $500 million already, but 87% of actors don’t meet the threshold for health insurance. 


Also seen picketing yesterday were Krysten Ritter and Skeet Ulrich—who appear to be friends? Did we know they’re friends?—and Lance Bass dropped off pizzas for the picketers at Paramount. This is, honestly, where the A-listers can make their presence felt—by providing food and refreshments on the picket lines, donating to the relief funds like Dwayne Johnson, or covering lunch tabs like Drew Carey. On the line, they’re distractions and can muddle the messaging regarding compensation, but they have the means to soften the landing for those for whom the strike is a real economic hardship. (Vulture ran a feature quoting 19 people either on strike or affected by it, they get into how much they actually make, and how the strike is impacting them. It’s a good primer for how the vast majority of people working in Hollywood really live.)


Meanwhile, in New York, comedy writers gathered to picket outside NBCUniversal. John Oliver, Jason Sudeikis, Ziwe, Amber Ruffin, and Kay Cannon were all on hand, as was Notable Comedian Christian Slater. Jokes aside, Slater has been one of the most reliable people at the New York pickets. And while I won’t argue his career has shifted over the years, at one time, Christian Slater was one of the hottest and most recognizable actors in the world. Like many stars of his generation, he is now in his Beloved Character Actor Phase, but this, again, goes to the strategy of where and how celebrity is deployed on the picket line.

Christian Slater is an icon to a generation. Jason Sudeikis is the creator-star of one of the most popular television shows of the last few years. Ziwe is extremely popular with younger people and the extremely online. Alexandra Shipp is a budding star. 


They are covering all the bases, making sure there are people on the lines recognizable across generations and demographics on both sides of the coast. It’s very smart, and as we settle in for what is expected to be a months-long strike, this can be the kind of strategizing that helps the labor side win the battle of public perception. The studios only have one set of people to trot out to issue talking points, and people are already sick of hearing from them. But the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have a multi-generational revolving door of stars to send to picket lines.