Writers on the Line

On the Line
Trans-Forming the Netflix Picket Line
Plus, Flavor Flav and Ted Lasso fight the power, and Newsies give Disney a taste of their own messaging
Friday, May 19, 2023
Emcee Sydney Baloue (far right) and event co-organizer Kam Alyse at Trans Takeover Thursday at Netflix.
During their Pick-IT Ball, they bandied words in a Best Sign competition. They held  a contest to determine who was the Best Dressed and who had the Best Pet. They literally stopped traffic and waved up to the workers in the Netflix offices. And wearing their best pink, white and blue regalia, both during the rally and on the picket lines, they looked fabulous doing it.

"I want to tell you, you look good," said an admiring WGAW President Meredith Stiehm during her opening remarks at Trans Takeover Thursday at Netflix which drew an estimated 750 people. "It's important that you're here. It's important that you're seen, and that everybody driving by sees you. We all know what we'd rather be doing, but this is not us waiting around. This is us demonstrating."

The event was organized by WGA's Trans/Nonbinary Subcommittee. Sydney Baloue served as the event's MC.

"As trans writers, we know that a fair deal helps us all; and without a fair deal for writers, it will be so much more difficult for us to build the vital visibility and cultural power that our community so needs right now," said Subcommittee Co-Chair and Co-Founder Jacob Tobia. "Our goal was to show Hollywood the solidarity that trans writers have with one another and with the Guild and I think we did just that."

See Photos from Wednesday's Picket Lines

Fighting the Power at WB

Ted Lasso's Jason Sudeikis and Flavor Flav at Warner Bros. Studios

He urged the WGA to fight the power. He brought the noise, and he even brought lunch.

Legendary rapper and Public Enemy Co-Founder Flavor Flav fired up an enthusiastic crowd of picketers during a lunchtime visit to Warner Bros Studios Thursday. Flav expressed solidarity with all WGA writers, but in a video that circulated earlier in the week, he gave a special shoutout to the writers of the series Ted Lasso, which films at the Warner Bros. lot and expressed a desire to come out and join the picket line. 

"It was really inspiring," said an appreciative Bill Wrubel, a Lasso writer and executive producer. "I've been a Public Enemy fan from way back and I knew 'Fight the Power' really well. So to be out her and to get a hug and have a moment of solidarity with someone like that, who I think of as a pretty pure artist, is really cool."

Series star and co-creator Jason Sudeikis, who was also at the event, has been a regular on the picket lines since the strike began. In his view, the underlying principle of the WGA strike is fairness.
"The values of fairness, right and wrong were instilled in me when I was younger and I like to think I'm passing that on to my children," Sudeikis said. "I'm proud to be part of the Guild and I'm proud to be exercising our right to do this."

All the Newsies That are Fit to Picket

Seize the Day at Disney organizers Megan Lynn and Jessica Poter.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Creative WGA members give Disney a taste of their own messaging!

Caps, vests, suspenders and newsprint were in large supply Thursday as fans of the 1992 strike-themed film Newsies gathered for a sing-along picket outside Walt Disney Studios.

The musical film, written by the husband-and-wife team of Bob Tzudiker & Noni White, chronicled the 1899 newsboy strike against their bosses. Having loved the film as kids, organizers of the special picket, say the themes resonate particularly strongly today with the Guild on strike.

“How crazy is it that Disney, of all people, introduced us to the idea of unions, labor movements, strikes and solidarity?” said writer and producer Megan Lynn, one of the organizers of the event. “We saw the movie as kids and left the theater going, ‘Yeah, that’s how you get stuff done.’ So we felt like it was only fair that Disney be reminded that this was a message that they put out. It's coming back to them.”

On her first day on the picket line, Lynn saw a strike poster with the familiar Newsies line “seize the day.” She began discussing her love of the film and the idea for a themed picket was hatched. Lynn reached out through a Facebook moms’ group and learned that another Newsies-themed action was in the works. The two groups joined forces and when they learned that one of the film’s stars, David Moscow, was available, they locked in the date and put out the call.

Aiding in that call was multiple Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken who posted the “Seize the Day at Disney” flyer on social media with the words “WGA - Seize the Day, from NYC to LA (not to mention Santa Fe) and The World Will Know!” which refers to one of the film’s songs.

The event featured a sing-along to a few of the songs including “The World Will Know,” the lyrics of which WGA member Jessica Poter rejiggered to address the Guild’s current situation. Attendees included Moscow and the films co-writers, Tzudiker & White who were introduced by WGAW Vice President Michele Mulroney. Team Seize the Day also reached out to participants in the Broadway musical, as well as performers who had been in student productions.

At the end of the sing-along and speeches, a marching band accompanied picketers as the circled the Disney gates, playing Newsies songs.

“It’s amazing that the story resonates in this way,” said Tzudiker. “The fact that it has become useful in this fight is really gratifying.”