WGA Strike Supporter Sean Penn Calls Producers Guild ‘Bankers Guild’ At Cannes Film Festival
Sean Penn strongly supported the current strike by Hollywood screenwriters when he spoke at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, saying the debate over artificial intelligence was a “human obscenity”.
CANNES, France — Sean Penn strongly supported the current strike by Hollywood screenwriters when he spoke at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday, saying the debate over artificial intelligence was a “human obscenity”.
Penn addressed the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike at a press conference for his new film, “Black Flies,” director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s harrowing, gritty drama about New York paramedics. Asked about the strike, Penn said “the industry has been screwing over writers, actors and directors for a very long time.”
“There’s a lot of new concepts being floated around the use of artificial intelligence. I think it’s human obscenity for producers to reject it,” said Penn, who is a veteran writer-director outside of acting.
Film and TV screenwriters went on strike earlier this month after talks with producers broke down. The WGA is seeking better pay, new contracts for the streaming era, and safeguards against the use of solutions written by artificial intelligence.
“The first thing we need to do in these conversations is change the Producers Guild and name their behavior, which is the Bankers Guild,” Penn added. “It’s hard for so many writers and so many people across the industry not to be able to work at this time. I think he’ll do some soul searching and see which side makes things difficult.
According to Penn’s comments, the broader possibility of a Hollywood strike could grow. The Directors Guild is also negotiating a new contract with the producers. The board of directors of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, voted this week to seek strike authorization from members to begin negotiations for a new contract.
In Cannes, the strike was a regular topic for American stars. On Thursday, Ethan Hawke wore a “Pencils Down” shirt. On Tuesday’s opening day of the festival, juror Paul Dano said he and his wife, Zoe Kazan, would soon be joining the picket lines.
“My wife is picketing right now with my 6-month-old child strapped to her breast,” Dano said. “I’ll be on the picket line when I get home.”