The grounds of Boston University were soon filled with the deafening chants of ‘Pay Your Writers’ after Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav appeared to congratulate the graduating class of 2023. Many protestors outside of the venue and inside the campus staged their disapproval through chants of ‘boo’ until Zaslav stopped his speech midway.
The protest from Boston University graduates came in light of the ongoing writer’s strike. Around 12,000 screenwriters are participating in the protests for a new and fair contract with all the industry’s major studios. However, there has been no progress towards any solution so far.
WGA responded to the Boston University’s 2023 grads’ protest against Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav
Over the weekend, Warner Bros Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav faced hundreds of protestors while appearing at the graduation ceremony of Boston University. According to Hollywood Reporter, Zaslav couldn’t continue his 20-minute speech and had to frequently pause.
- The crowd interrupted David Zaslav with the chants of “Pay Your Writers” and “We Don’t Want You Here” and asked him to ‘shut up’ at one point. Many graduates also walked out to the ceremony ‘to stand with what’s right.’ Meanwhile, the others attending cheered with the protestors.
David Zaslav, Head Of Warner Brothers / Discovery Is Getting An Honorary Degree At Boston University – A plane towed this message circling the ceremony
“David Zaslav – Pay Your Writers”#WGA #WGAStrike #Writers #Screenwriters #screenplay pic.twitter.com/WF5p3rVgYV
— K. B. (@kbsez) May 21, 2023
Before David Zaslav could respond to the protestors or make a statement, an airplane banner with the message ‘Pay Your Writer Zaslav’ flew overhead hundreds of picketers. The Writers Guild of America responded to the Boston University protest through a Tweet, stating they are grateful to the graduating class of 2023 for chanting in their support.
The WGA is thankful to all the B.U. graduates for chanting "Pay your writers" at Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav while he delivered the #BU2023 commencement address. #WGAStrike https://t.co/p0kky3RyUp
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) May 21, 2023
US senator Bernie Sanders retweeted the tweet, adding, ‘if Warner Bros studio can afford to pay $286 Million to CEO David Zaslav, then it can afford to pay its writers as well.’ Many netizens expressed their support for Boston University grads and praised them for their protest in front of David Zaslav. US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also showed her support through social media.
If Warner Bros Discovery can afford to pay its CEO David Zaslav $286 million in compensation over the past 2 years, it can afford to pay its writers much better wages and benefits. Mr. Zaslav: Listen to the Boston University students and the Writers Guild. Pay your writers. https://t.co/4uUzcUHVdr
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) May 22, 2023
👨🏼💼 “You have to listen to people you disagree with”
🗣️ “Pay your writers!”
👨🏼💼 “No, not me. Not like that”
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 21, 2023
David Zaslav and Ted Sarandos have previously expressed their support for WGA
According to Vanity Fair, David Zaslav and Netflix’s co-CEO Ted Sarandos have spoken in support of WGA. They suggested creating a deal with the writers before the strike, but the negotiation couldn’t reach an agreement.
“To create great storytelling, we need great writers, and that requires the whole industry to work together,” Zaslav shared in a recent CNBC interview. Further sharing that ‘everybody deserves to be paid fairly’ hence, they are prioritizing resolving this dispute.
ICYMI: We'll be picketing Warner Bros. Discovery president & CEO David Zaslav at Boston University’s commencement ceremony this Sunday, May 21.
Are you #ProudtoBU(nion)? Sign up to join us!https://t.co/PAbrB8ntSm#WGAStrong #WGAStrike #1u #BU2023 pic.twitter.com/Cl7ylkeFp2
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) May 17, 2023
- Only two days after the writers’ strike commenced, Boston University announced that Zaslav, as an alumnus, would attend their 2023 graduation ceremony to a commencement speech. Soon after the announcement, the Writers Guild of America East expressed its intention to picket and protest by declaring its “disappoint with the university for its poor decision.”
- They also shared in a statement to The Boston Globe that ‘Boston University should not provide a stage to David Zaslav.’ while accusing him of having a desire ‘to destroy the students’ ability to build a career in the film and television industry.’
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