Fan Expo Canada says it doesn’t expect the ongoing strikes in Hollywood to have a major impact on its show in August.
On social media, the convention’s organizer, Fan Expo HQ, issued the following statement:
“As the guidelines of the SAG-AFTRA strike come to light, it is understood that individual performers have permission to participate in pop culture conventions if they are not promoting major studio/streamer projects. Given that the majority of our celebrities fall into this category, we don’t expect it to impact Fan Expo HQ events.”
It adds that it will provide any updates should the situation change closer to the show, which runs from August 24th to 27th.
On July 14th, SAG-AFTRA, the organization representing film and television actors, radio personalities, singers and more, officially went on strike. This follows the Writers Guild of America (WGA) going on strike on May 2nd, the first time since 1960 that the groups were striking simultaneously. As part of these strikes, the production and promotion of movies and TV shows have been halted.
However, as Fan Expo notes, celebrities can still attend conventions as personal appearances, provided they’re not promoting any projects. Therefore, it’s expected that the usual photo ops and autographs will be included here. Of course, any guests who aren’t part of SAG-AFTRA or the WGA will also be exempt from these restrictions entirely. It’s unclear exactly how this will be enforced, such as whether certain celebrity panels will be cancelled entirely or simply strictly moderated to avoid project-related questions. We’ll update this story should more information become available.
Why are they striking?
Both organizations are calling for greater pay in the streaming era and protections against the use of AI that could replace humans in artistic works, among other demands. With respect to the former point, streamers regularly hide how well movies and shows are performing, which helps them avoid paying residuals. For example, Kellee Stewart, who has appeared in popular TV shows like Black-ish, noted on social media that she’d received five residual payments from streamers totalling $0.13 USD ($0.17 CAD).
And while many people think of Hollywood actors as being rich, the reality is that the majority of people in the industry are working-class. Of SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members, only 12.7 percent earn the minimum $26,470 USD (about $34,870 CAD) required to qualify for health insurance.
By contrast, Hollywood executives continue to receive gargantuan annual salaries. As CNBC breaks it down, the top five highest-paid businessmen over the past five years are:
- David Zaslav (Warner Bros. Discovery) — $498,915,318 USD (about $657,208,000 CAD)
- Ari Emanuel (Endeavor Group Holdings) — $346,935,367 USD (about $457,009,285 CAD)
- Reed Hastings (Netflix) — $209,780,532 USD (about $276,338,650 CAD)
- Bob Iger (Disney) — $195,092,460 USD (about $256,990,420 CAD)
- Ted Sarandos (Netflix) — $192,171,581 USD ($253,142,819 CAD)
It remains to be seen what will ultimately come out of the strikes.