Drew Barrymore Breaks Down In Emotional Video Discussing Backlash for Returning to Air During the Writers’ Guild Strike
Drew Barrymore returned to her New York studio this week to record segments for The Drew Barrymore Show despite the ongoing Writers’ Guild of America strike. She was met with criticism by supporters of the WGA, whose members picketed outside the studio. After a week of backlash, Barrymore released a four-minute video in which she emotionally defended her decision to return.
Barrymore was in tears after a few seconds of talking, and she began by saying that what she was about to say wasn’t under the direction of a publicist; she wanted to speak for herself:
I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay. 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 okay for those it is not okay with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that there are so many reasons why this is so complex and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone.
She also apologized to the writers and the unions, and said she “wanted to accept responsibility.” On her decision to bring the show back despite her show being considered a “struck” show by the WGA. Barrymore argued, “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.”
Other staffers’ jobs, people who aren’t part of the striking unions, are at risk. This was a big reason why, during the 2007/2008 WGA strike (which was striking for different reasons and should be considered a different strike altogether), late-night hosts brought their shows back and paid their staffers out of pocket. It should be noted that those hosts were also called scabs at the time. This kind of pressure on people in Barrymore’s position is understandable. But then Barrymore repeated her claim that her show was built during the pandemic and was meant to withstand difficult times:
And since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times. And I weighed the scales and I thought if we could go on during a global pandemic and everything that the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us? So I want to just put one foot in front of the other and make a show that’s there for people, regardless of anything else that’s happening in the world because that’s when I think we all need something that wants to be there, being very realistic in very realistic times.
It’s a similar argument she made in her initial Instagram announcement. Some critics, however, were not quickly appeased by Barrymore’s comments as the striking writers continue to make serious sacrifices as they work out a new contract they believe is fair and equitable.
Yashar Ali, who posted the video on Twitter, pointed out: “With this video Drew has managed to make her situation worse. I thought she was going to talk about employees or concern that her show could be canceled by local stations and replaced. These wouldn’t have been acceptable reasons to break the strike per the WGA, but from a PR perspective it would have gathered more support for her.”
Watch the video above via Twitter.
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