Hollywood Actors Set Vote to Authorize Strike with Writers Still Out 

People stand above the Hollywood sign under a cloudy sky in Los Angeles, California, US, May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
People stand above the Hollywood sign under a cloudy sky in Los Angeles, California, US, May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
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Hollywood Actors Set Vote to Authorize Strike with Writers Still Out 

People stand above the Hollywood sign under a cloudy sky in Los Angeles, California, US, May 31, 2023. (Reuters)
People stand above the Hollywood sign under a cloudy sky in Los Angeles, California, US, May 31, 2023. (Reuters)

Hollywood's actors union will announce Monday whether their members authorized a possible strike, a move that would turn up the heat on major film and television studios already grappling with a work stoppage by writers.

The SAG-AFTRA union set a Monday deadline for its 160,000 members to vote on whether to give their negotiators the power to call a strike if needed. Talks between the actors union and major studios are scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Over the weekend, the studios likely averted another work stoppage by reaching a tentative deal with the Directors Guild of America (DGA). That pact will take effect if DGA members vote to ratify it.

Actors, in their negotiations, will seek higher pay and safeguards against unauthorized use of their images through artificial intelligence. Their current deal expires June 30.

In a letter to members urging them to vote in favor of a strike authorization, SAG-AFTRA leaders said the industry had changed dramatically with the rise of streaming television and the emergence of new technology such as generative AI.

"We have fully entered a digital and streaming entertainment industry, and that demands a contract that is relevant to the new business model," the letter said.

A spokesperson for the Alliance of Film and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Walt Disney Co, Netflix Inc and other major studios, had no comment.

The month-long strike by more than 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has disrupted production of late-night shows and shut down high-profile projects including a new season of Netflix's "Stranger Things" and a "Game of Thrones" spinoff for Warner Bros Discovery's HBO.

An actors' strike would lead to a broader shutdown and increase pressure on studios that need programming to feed their streaming services and the fall TV broadcast schedule.

During the last WGA strike in 2007 and 2008, a studio deal with the DGA prompted writers to head back to the bargaining table.

On Friday, WGA negotiator Chris Keyser argued that would not be the case this time.

"Any deal that puts this town back to work runs straight through the WGA, and there is no way around that," Keyser said in a video posted on YouTube.



German Police Detain Suspected Stalker Ahead of Taylor Swift Concert

17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
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German Police Detain Suspected Stalker Ahead of Taylor Swift Concert

17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa

German police said Thursday that they detained a man suspected of stalking Taylor Swift ahead of the first of three shows by the pop star in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.
The man was detained following tips from organizers of the event, police said in a statement. They said he had previously made threats against the singer, German news agency dpa reported. They gave no more details of the man or the background to the incident.
Police said that Wednesday evening's concert, attended by about 60,000 people, went peacefully.
The American superstar has shows in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as part of her Eras Tour.
Ahead of the concerts, the city put up signs temporarily renaming itself “Swiftkirchen" and honored the singer on a “Walk of Fame” that commemorates local celebrities.
After Gelsenkirchen, Swift plans concerts in two other German cities, Hamburg and Munich.