Writers on the Line

On the Line
Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre Pause for the Cause
Plus, USC faculty, alumni, and supporters gather at Paramount to say fight on, and one how Teamster shares his union solidarity with his daughters at Fox
Monday, June 5, 2023

Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre's Bowl Concert Postponed

Radio personality Big Boy (second from left) and Death Row Records COO Michael "Harry-O" Harris (fourth from left) on the Paramount picket lines.
The WGA strike has impacted a major concert event of the summer.

Fans holding tickets to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre’s concert celebrating the 30th anniversary release of the album Doggystyle later this month at Hollywood Bowl will have to wait until October 20 and 21. As an act of solidarity with striking WGA writers, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and the team at Death Row Records announced the concert’s rescheduling during a Friday afternoon picket at Paramount Studios.

“Sometimes people are more important than business, and this is one of those times,” said Michael “Harry-O” Harris, the COO of Death Row Records. “We didn’t feel it would be right for us to celebrate a great 30-year anniversary knowing that people are suffering out here and fighting for their rights.”

While neither Dr Dre nor Snoop Dogg were present at Paramount during the announcement (Snoop made the announcement on his Instagram), they sent food trucks from the Yeastie Boys and Wings 'N Waffles to Paramount Friday as part of their “Pause for a Cause” action. Actor and radio personality Big Boy, who was also scheduled to be part of the concert, joined Harris at Paramount to announce the postponement, to walk the picket lines, and to thank the writers for their perseverance.

“I’m a Hollywood kid. If I’m not in Hollywood, I’m watching what’s going on,” said Big Boy. “I’ve passed by and blown my horn so many times, but it was time to come out and hit the turf as well.”

“To the writers I would say talent outweighs a lot,” Big Boy continued. “Continue to fight. We’re listening. We’re paying attention. Stand your ground and we’ll get it.”

See Photos from Friday's Picket Lines

"Fighting On" For Solidarity at Paramount

USC faculty, alumni and supporters at Paramount. Photo by JW Hendricks

On her first day on the Disney picket line, Janet Batchler was sighted by one of her students at USC.

“I was at Disney and I was walking around holding my sign,” recalled Batchler, a screenwriter whose credits include Pompei and Batman Forever, “and all of a sudden I hear, ‘Hey Professor Batchler!’ I turned around there’s a whole bunch of former students on the line. It was like my worlds collided.”

“I happened to be wearing a USC baseball cap that day, and as I’m walking the perimeter of Disney, I’m passing people who are saying ‘fight on!’” she continued. “And I just went, ‘We are here. We are everywhere.’ Wow!”

From that first day encounter, Batchler developed the idea to bring Trojan alumni together en masse for a special themed picket. That event happened Friday as hundreds of USC alumni, faculty and current students–many dressed in the school’s cardinal and gold–descended on Paramount Studios.

"We reached out mostly to alumni, but there are some current students. I have a rising sophomore from one of my classes last year which is wonderful," said Batchler. "We rare seeing people from production and from the Peter Stark Producing Program who are also showing up to support the writers which is wonderful." 

David Isaacs, Chair of the John Wells Division for Screen & Television at the SCA, is a veteran of multiple WGA actions. The current action, Isaacs said, is notable for having what he considers “the most solidarity within the Guild itself.”

“I think all the members understand how important this is, how important it is to the middle class of the guild,” said Isaacs. “You have people who haven’t crossed into the promised land yet and people at the bottom who unfortunately don’t get as much work as well as people who work pretty much all the time. You have to be able to get something back from the fruits of your labor that allows you to have a great career.”

"I think it’s important to support the strike as a chance to hang on to the future of film, TV and entertainment," added Batchler. "The companies would like to think that writers are just an expense that they would like to minimize, but we are not an expense. We create the value that they take credit for, and I hope that they will begin to realize that and to respect that."

WGAW members and USC SCA faculty David Isaacs and Janet Batchler at the USC Picket at Paramount.

Teamster Ricketts Pickets with Daughters

Teamster and location manager Eduardo Ricketts with his daughters Blue and Kali at Fox Studios.

Eduardo Ricketts, a location manager and member of Teamsters Local 399, knew he wanted to show support for the striking WGA writers at the picket line.  Since he was headed for the Fox Studios lot on the day that the Greta Gerwig Appreciation Day picket was taking place, Ricketts’ daughter, Blue, made sure her dad was properly outfitted for the occasion.

No, Ricketts did not dress up as Ken from the upcoming Barbie movie co-written and directed by WGAE member Gerwig. The shirt simply displayed Gerwig’s name.

“My daughter thought it would be cool if I wore this shirt,” said Eduardo Ricketts. “People need to know how important writers are to the entire work/labor process when it comes to creating the entire ecosystem of Los Angeles and the state of California. You could say that without writers, none of us would be here, so I believe it’s really important for us to show support in any way we can.”

Since the strike began, Teamsters have shown solidarity with WGA writers, refusing to cross picket lines. Ricketts says reasons to support collective action are common across unions.

“I believe that we all believe that families come first. We all made the decision to carry out our lives and earn a living doing what we do to support our families,” he said. “Unions are the biggest element that helps us continue to do that with dignity. So I’m down with doing anything I can do to support that."