May 19, 2024

After SAG-AFTRA urged its members not to dress up as characters from struck companies this Halloween, former president of the actors guild Melissa Gilbert is calling out the costume guidelines as “silly bullshit” and “infantile.”

“THIS is what you guys come up with? Literally no one cares what anyone wears for Halloween,” Gilbert wrote on Instagram in response to the union’s Halloween suggestions. “I mean, do you really think this kind of infantile stuff is going to end the strike? We look like a joke. Please tell me you’re going to make this rule go away… and go negotiate!”

Gilbert then directly tagged the Instagram accounts of current SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, writing, “For the love of God, people are suffering mightily and this is what you have to say… c’mon guys… This is the kind of silly bullshit that keeps us on strike. ‘Let’s enact a policy that makes us look petty and incompetent at the same time.’”

Gilbert led the actors union from 2001 to 2005, and was the third woman to be elected president.

On Wednesday, SAG-AFTRA published a post on its website encouraging members to “celebrate Halloween this year while also staying in solidarity” with the ongoing strike. Instead of trick-or-treating as Barbie and Ken, the guild recommended striking actors “choose costumes inspired by generalized characters and figures,” like, say, a “ghost, zombie, spider, etc.,” or “characters from non-struck content, like an animated TV show.”

“SAG-AFTRA issued Halloween guidance in response to questions from content creators and members about how to support the strike during this festive season. This was meant to help them avoid promoting struck work, and it is the latest in a series of guidelines we have issued,” a guild spokesperson told Variety on Friday afternoon. “It does not apply to anyone’s kids. We are on strike for important reasons, and have been for nearly 100 days. Our number one priority remains getting the studios back to the negotiating table so we can get a fair deal for our members, and finally put our industry back to work.”

A number of SAG-AFTRA members chimed in on the Halloween guidelines on social media, with Ryan Reynolds quipping, “I look forward to screaming ‘scab’ at my 8 year old all night. She’s not in the union but she needs to learn.”

SAG-AFTRA also suggested actors “don’t post photos of costumes inspired by struck content to social media,” as to not give the studios any additional publicity. As the guild fights for a better contract with the AMPTP, members are prohibited from doing press for struck shows and films. SAG-AFTRA met with the AMPTP last week to negotiate, but talks fell apart.

Meanwhile, Drescher is working to hold the actors guild together and convince members to stay the course. “This too shall pass,” she said Thursday. “But this is the moment where we don’t succumb to pressure. This is the moment where we stand tall and we hold firm.”

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