As negations have yet to provide fruitful resolution, Hollywood actors and writers remain on strike. The current SAG-AFTRA strike has been ongoing since July 13 and has already had a severe impact while placing stress on studios like those owned by The Walt Disney Company. The production and promotion of upcoming film releases are being reconsidered due to union restraints during the strike. With no one to work, it’s increasingly difficult for movie production studios to remain optimistic regarding future projects. On the other side of the coin, the strike will potentially create some undue financial stress for writers, who feel that their compensation is already lacking. For this reason, one big Hollywood name, Dwayne Johnson, has stepped in to intervene.
A Plea for Help From SAG Foundation
According to Variety, SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance and executive Director Cyd Wilson provided a detailed letter to 2700 union members. This letter was targeted at members with the highest earnings. The request made by Vance and Wilson was simple, outlining the financial stress and need caused by the strike. Wilson told Variety that they have expected a “great response” from their members during the work stoppage as the SAG-AFTRA had been through this before during COVID-19.
Variety went on to explain that during COVID-19, the SAG-AFTRA foundation provided aid to many members through their Emergency Assistance Program. Consisting of over 160,000 members, the need for assistance seems to be a high priority for the non-profit’s leadership, and as they’ve had to ask before, they expected a great response from its top members. Although this strike is a decision not forced upon workers due to a global pandemic, in anticipation of a long and drawn-out negotiation process. SAG-AFTRA quickly recognized that there would be a need to provide assistance to its members.
Financial Need for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Members
When hearing the terms “Hollywood” or “actor’s strikes,” we mentally don’t associate them with a need for financial assistance. However, many affected by the strike are not raking in millions of dollars. SAG-AFTRA negotiations for fair pay includes that of writers as well, not just highly paid actors and actresses like Dwayne Johnson, Steve Carell, and Helen Mirren. This makes grants via the strike essential for some who find themselves struggling during the work stoppage. It also means that large donations have a huge impact on the non-profit’s ability to help its members appropriately during times of crisis.
Outside of writers, around 87% of active members with the SAG-AFTRA foundation find themselves making less than $26,000 a year. Unlike Dwayne Johnson, many actor’s aren’t huge names and are working on small projects like commercials or other advertisements. In fact, the number of Oscar winning members of the foundation makes up a relatively small percentage. Because of this SAG-AFTRA Foundation relies heavily on their notable members to make donations that help feed and cloth actor’s during times when work isn’t available.
Dwayne Johnson to the Rescue
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is one of the hottest names in Hollywood. From humble beginnings with the World Wrestling Federation to being one of the most recognized faces in the world, Dwayne Johnson is also a member of the SAG-AFTRA foundation. Johnson has many film credits to his name, some of which are with highly recognized studios like Disney. The Jungle Cruise (2021), Jumanji (2017), Fast and the Furious (2009), and Moana (2016) are a few of the actor’s credited works.
Johnson is also considered in high regard among his film counterparts. Many media outlets consistently list him as one of the nicest, most genuine, and lovely people you’d ever meet. Through his own charity work and donations, Johnson works prevalently to help improve the lives of others. It should come as no surprise that when the SAG-AFTRA Foundation sent out their letter asking for help, Johnson answered in “historic” fashion.
Johnson is no stranger to poverty, notably open about his family’s hardships during his teenage years in life. Although the actor and business man boasts a net worth of over $800 million nowadays, the story was different for him growing up. Certainly this humble appreciation for how hard times befall good people played a role in the former wrestler and Project Rock frontman’s decision to provide surmountable to aid to the foundation.
Dwayne Johnson’s Donation Will Go to Good Use
Wilson explained further to Variety that typically the SAG-AFTRA foundation provides its members with $1,500 individual grants. In some severe cases, members can receive up to $6,000 in aid. As the foundation consists of over 160,000 members, a recent hefty donation made by Dwayne Johnson will stretch very far in helping those struggling during the stoppage of work.
Dwayne Johnson Contributes ‘Historic’ Donation to SAG-AFTRA Foundation Relief Fund, Says President Courtney B. Vance: ‘It’s a Call to Arms for All of Us’ (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/MaUaAh7qOy
— prelude2cinema (@prelude2cinema) July 25, 2023
Wilson also noted that they’ve seen an uptick in financial assistance request up to 10 times higher than normal. However, he was eager to express his gratitude for Johnson’s sizable donation, as the need for more help is only growing as the clock continues to tick on the strike. Although specific details about Dwayne Johnson’s donation were not disclosed Wilson did tell Variety that it was the single highest donation ever received by the foundation, and that he was certain the impact from the generous contribution would help a lot of people. Vance echoed many of the sentiments of Cyd Wilson, displayed extreme gratitude for the monumental donation provided by Dwayne Johnson.
Other media outlets like Forbes are reporting that Johnson’s donation was somewhere in the seven figure range. No matter the amount Johnson gave, as the strike seems to have no end in the near future, it’s certain that his help will feed and cloth many young and aspiring actors who are attempting to make their dreams come true. Although studios like Disney are seriously considering pushing back release dates and canelling projects due to the strike, the Rock’s donation is a good reminder that a large majority of people are being negatively impacted by the work stoppage.