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The Bear Writer Calls Alleged Studio Plot To Beat The WGA Strike Illegal & Vile

The Writers Guild of America has been on strike for over two months. The Screen Actors Guild is about a week into their strike. Hollywood isn't working until studios address the pay disparity between executives and actors. However, instead of figuring out a solution, studio executives plan to hold out, with many telling Deadline they're more than comfortable waiting for union members to lose their houses, calling it "a cruel but necessary evil." 

Naturally, this sentiment didn't sit well with the striking union members, and Alex O'Keefe, a staff writer on FX's hit series "The Bear," is speaking out against the villainous scare tactic. "They publicly say it's a necessary evil," O'Keefe told The New York Post. "They publicly say they are evil, so what do you think they say privately at the bargaining table? It's sick, vile, and disgusting." 

O'Keefe didn't stop there, calling upon the Department of Labor to investigate the anonymous sources for union busting. "That's not legal, that's why they didn't put their name on it," he said, saying that he would love for the strike to end this week and get back to work, but that's not going to happen if the studios' "strategy is to make me homeless."

O'Keefe slams Bob Iger's statement on the strikes

Arguably one of the most high-profile moments of the current Hollywood strikes came when Disney CEO Bob Iger called the movement disruptive and damaging to the industry, blaming the working-class writers and actors for Hollywood's current situation. Naturally, Iger's comments didn't sit well with most people, and Alex O'Keefe pulled back the curtain on what it's like working for the mega-corporation of Disney.

For his work as a staff writer on "The Bear," O'Keefe made $43,000, with no payments in the form of residuals coming once the show hits Disney's streaming services, Hulu and Disney+. "Bob Iger is making a salary. I am not," he told The New York Post, saying he's applying to grocery stores to pay the bills during the strike while Iger brings in $27 million a year. As for Iger's comments on the strike being "disruptive," O'Keefe agreed, calling out the hypocrisy in the CEO's statements. "Strikes are supposed to be disruptive," he said. "Capitalists love disruptions when it makes them money. Netflix and Disney+ were disruptions in the market."

Unfortunately for Iger, his comments did nothing to help Hollywood's situation, further fueling writers like O'Keefe to push on with their strike. To make matters worse, 160,000 actors joined the movement last week as the Screen Actors Guild began their fight against the studios. While Iger may view the guilds' demands as "unrealistic," O'Keefe, his fellow writers, and now actors will continue picketing to secure their future in the industry.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. To learn more about why writers and actors are currently on strike, click here for an up-to-date explainer from our Looper team.