'Guardians of the Galaxy' Star Sean Gunn Criticizes Disney CEO Bob Iger's Remarks on Strikes, Expresses Concerns about Streaming Residuals Sean Gunn, known for his role in the popular franchise 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' has taken a strong stance against Disney CEO Bob Iger's recent comments regarding the ongoing strikes by the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
Gunn voiced his discontent with Iger's statements and also raised concerns about the minimal residuals he has received from streaming platforms. During an appearance on CNBC's "Squawk Box," Iger expressed his belief that the impending strike by actors' unions would have a detrimental impact on the industry.
He stated, "It will affect the economy of different regions, even, because of the sheer size of the business. It's a shame, it is really a shame."
Sean Gunn Condemns Iger's Income Gap
Gunn, in response, took to TikTok and shared his thoughts on Iger's remarks.
The actor emphasized the significant wage disparity between CEOs like Iger and the lowest-paid workers. Gunn pointed out that while CEOs in the 1980s earned around 30 times the salary of the lowest-paid employee, Iger currently earns around 400 times more.
He questioned the moral and ethical implications of such income gaps and called it a "shame" on Iger's part. In addition to his criticism of Iger, Gunn expressed frustration with streaming giant Netflix and its co-CEO Ted Sarandos, as well as executive chair Reed Hastings.
Gunn argued that despite the immense popularity and profitability of shows like "Gilmore Girls," he has received minimal residuals from streaming revenue. However, it should be noted that the responsibility to pay residuals lies with the original producer of the show, Warner Bros.
Discovery, who licensed it to Netflix. The amount of residuals paid by Warner Bros. Discovery is determined based on the licensing fees charged by Netflix. Gunn also claimed that Sarandos and Hastings received substantial bonuses amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
He called for a fairer distribution of wealth among content creators, highlighting the importance of sharing profits with those responsible for generating them. However, it has been reported that Gunn's comments regarding Sarandos and Hastings' compensation were inaccurate, as the majority of their pay is derived from stock options rather than bonuses.
The strikes led by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have united actors and writers in their demands for improved working conditions and fair compensation from studios, streaming services, and production companies. These strikes mark the first time in over six decades that both unions have simultaneously engaged in industrial action.
The writers have been advocating for guaranteed staffing levels, increased pay, and regulated use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the writing process, while actors are seeking higher minimum pay rates, improved streaming residuals, and clear guidelines on the utilization of AI.
Iger, in his CNBC interview, expressed his concern over the timing of the strikes and described the unions' expectations as unrealistic. He acknowledged the importance of fair compensation but emphasized the challenges the industry is already facing due to disruptive forces and the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Iger highlighted the successful negotiations with the Directors Guild of America and expressed a desire to achieve similar outcomes with the writers and actors. As the strikes continue, industry stakeholders must navigate these complex issues to ensure a fair and sustainable future for all those involved in the entertainment business.
The ongoing discussions and debates are crucial in shaping the industry's path forward and addressing the concerns of both content creators and executives.