It’s Deja Vu all over again! The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike and Jay Leno is making headlines. In 2007, the WGA went on strike over contract negotiations. The Union felt soaring studio profits should relate to increased shows for writers. This time, the strike is over equity, use of AI, and minimum compensation. Nearly every studio is affected, including Disney.
Enter Jay Leno. Writers took to social media to post videos and messages of gratitude as the former Tonight Show host passed out donuts at the picket line outside Walt Disney Studios. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s happened before.
— Caroline “WGA Captain” Renard (@carolinerenard_) May 2, 2023
In 2007, Leno pulled up to Universal Studios on a Harley- Davison and passed out donuts there. This kind Act did not go without criticism as David Letterman (his night time talk show rival) said, he “never let an act of kindness go unnoticed by a camera.” He also came under fire in the strike for refusing to air unscripted shows which would have saved his non-union staff from being fired. He eventually paid the terminated staff two weeks pay each out of his own pocket.
Leno is a member and proud supporter of the WGA. This show of solidarity is becoming something of a tradition. Both times he passed donuts out to picketing writers without saying a word. He’s been quoted as saying he was there in a supportive role and didn’t want to take away from the message being sent. Other performers like Amanda Seyfried, Snoop Dogg, Mark Hamill, and Seth Meyers have expressed support for the strike.
Leno has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since November 2022 when he sustained serious burns to his hands and face. Leno is well known for his love of cars’ the injury was sustained in a garage fire after gasoline ignited.
Picketing at Disney began at 1:00 pm on May 2, 2023. With no end in sight it’s unclear how it will affect the studio. This is a huge blow to the company after narrowly avoiding a Cast Member strike at Walt Disney World.