AOC slams TV shows resuming despite writer’s strike: ‘I don’t support people who break picket lines’

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticised television shows for restarting production despite the ongoing strike among writers and actors.

When asked by The Independent what she thought about television shows resuming production, the self-described democratic socialist congresswoman gave a direct answer.

“I don’t support people who break picket lines,” she said.

Earlier this week, actress Drew Barrymore announced that she will resume The Drew Barrymore Show despite the fact the Writers Guild of America said it was a “WGA-covered, struck show.”

The announcement came despite the fact that the WGA began a strike in May amidst an ongoing dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association that represents major television and film studios.

The actress and host said that she was “making the choice to come back for the first time in the strike” and that the show “may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me.”

A day after her show taped its first episode, the actress was dumped as host of the upcoming National Book Awards, which is often called the Oscars of the publishing world.

“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the National Book Foundation, which presents the award, said in a statement Tuesday.

“In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”

Barrymore’s CBS talk show is not covered by the actors guild, as daytime talk shows are governed by a different Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists contract that was renewed and ratified last year.

But her show employs at least three members of the writers guild, who picketed the CBS Broadcast Building on Monday.

Similarly, comedian Bill Maher announced that his show Real Time with Bill Maher would resume despite the strike.

Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing,” he announced on social media. “It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work. The writers have important issues that I sympathise with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns.”

Maher said he would “honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue” and other scripted segments of his late-night HBO show.

In a statement on X, the WGA called Maher’s decision “disappointing” and that guild members would picket the show.

“If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike,’” the statement said. “As a WGA member, @BillMaher is obligated to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how @RealTimers can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place.”

“Real Time” has been part of the HBO lineup since February 2003. Each season consists of 20 to 35 episodes. The show’s 21st season debuted in January and halted on April 28, after 13 episodes had aired. Maher and HBO have not announced a premiere date for the new episodes.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez has previously joined the picket line in New York with the Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Earlier in the day, Ms Ocasio-Cortez spoke to reporters about an impending strike from the United Auto Workers.

“I think it's really important that we support UAW, support the auto workers in this because they are going to try to feed us the excuse that everything is going to get more expensive because we're paying people a living wage and letting them put food on the table,” she said.

“What’s actually making themselves this expensive, is the fact that these CEOs want to give themselves the umpteenth yacht of the day, instead of actually doing the right thing and giving people honest pay for an honest day's [work].”