Ted Sarandos Is All “Spin,” Other CEOs “Irresponsible” For Abandoning Talks To End Strike, SAG-AFTRA’s Duncan Crabtree-Ireland Says


EXCLUSIVE: Ted Sarandos may have insisted today that he and other studio CEOs want to end the over three-month long actors strike and “get everyone back to work,” but for SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator, the Netflix boss is full of nothing but hot air.

“Talking about putting people back to work while refusing to negotiate is just spin,” bluntly exclaims Duncan Crabtree-Ireland to Deadline this evening in response to Sarandos’ comments during the streamer’s third-quarter earnings call Wednesday.

Coming a week after the AMPTP and the CEO Gang of Four suddenly suspended deliberations over the guild’s revenue sharing proposal, Sarandos today said after an optimistic” start to talks “a subscriber levy unrelated to viewing or success” suggested by SAG-AFTRA “really broke our momentum.” Led in bargaining by Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley and Disney’s Bob Iger, the AMPTP walked out of talks in the afternoon of October 11 and later phoned Crabtree-Ireland and union president Fran Drescher to say they weren’t coming back after just nine days of on and off meetings.

The studios and streamers asserted the guild’s estimated $800 million a year plan was an “untenable economic burden” that could break them. The guild accused the studios and streamers of vastly inflating the price tag of the proposal. SAG-AFTRA accused the CEO Gang of Four and the Carol Lombardini-led AMPTP of “bully tactics” and using “the same failed strategy they tried to inflict on the WGA” to kneecap talks.

SAG-AFTRA national executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland

As he has repeatedly and publicly since negotiations were shuttered, Crabtree-Ireland pushed back against de facto Gang of Four leader Sarandos’ assertions today, maybe harder than ever. The union leader stated that if the CEOs really are “incredibly and totally committed to ending this strike,” as the Netflix co-CEO said Wednesday, then they should put their money and their motivations where their mouths are.

 “The best way to reach a deal and end this strike is for him and the other CEOs to end their walkout from the bargaining table and resume negotiations,” Crabtree-Ireland said tonight. “We have been and remain ready to continue talks – every day.”

“It is irresponsible for the companies to continue to refuse to negotiate. It hurts their employees, the industry and their shareholders.”

Tomorrow will be the 98th day that SAG-AFTRA has been out on the picket lines so far. Despite Netflix’s odd proclamation Wednesday talks are ongoing, there are in fact no talks scheduled between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP plus studio CEOs.

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