The Drew Barrymore strike controversy appears to have reached a conclusion.
The 48-year-old actor sparked major backlash earlier this month after announcing that her talk show would resume production amid ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes for fair wages and workplace improvements in Hollywood. While hosting the show does not inherently break the SAG-AFTRA strike requirements, the talk show has employed WGA writers, some of whom joined the picket lines when The Drew Barrymore Show began taping on Monday, September 11. All this to say, any writing on the show would be considered a violation of the WGA strike.
The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of WGA strike rules.
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
After a week of picketing and public outcry, Barrymore has reversed her decision. “I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore wrote in an Instagram post on September 17. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
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Drew Barrymore announced the return of her series on September 10 with an Instagram post which has since been deleted, as has the teary-eyed follow-up video she posted on September 15. In the video, she apologized to writers but described the issue as “so complex” and did not announce a plan to stop production.
“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” she said in the deleted video. “I wanted to own a decision so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation. And I would just take full responsibility for my actions. I know there’s just nothing I can do that will make this OK for those that is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that.”
Barrymore attempted to explain her position, saying, “Why am I doing this? Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t going to break rules, and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this because as I said, this is bigger than me. And there are other people’s jobs on the line.”
Since Barrymore’s first post, protesters have gathered outside the CBS Studios in New York, with some audience members claiming they were kicked out of the taping for wearing WGA pins. Meanwhile, Barrymore was dropped as the host of the National Book Awards and has been facing criticism from strike supporters and Hollywood peers, including Rosie O’Donnell, Debra Messing, Bradley Whitford, and Alyssa Milano.
“You can choose now to halt production. You can choose to pay your employees like other talk show hosts who have stood in solidarity with the writers,” Messing wrote in response to Barrymore’s since-deleted video, per The Wrap. “There are thousands of union members jobs and livelihoods that are at stake (exponentially more than those who work on your show) and the future of our beloved industry. I hope you will reconsider.”
Originally published in Glamour.com