Queer TV Creatives Share How You Can Support the Writers Strike

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Here are two solid facts about Autostraddle readers and writers: 1) We love our TV shows and movies, and have often found both community and ourselves in stories in ways that we’ve never experienced in real life. Or, in ways that gave us the courage and templates to see seek similar real-life experiences. 2) We support workers and their rights, and will always side with them over major corporations. And so, of course, we are fully behind the 11,500 members of the Writer’s Guild of America who went on strike after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers failed to offer a new, fair contract to WGA members by the May 1, 2023 deadline. You’re probably wondering what the heck is actually happening, how it will affect your favorite shows, and what you can do to help. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

The Writer’s Strike, Explained

Despite the obfuscation from studios, networks, and streamers — like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount, and Sony — as well as general anti-worker dweebs, the writer’s strike really isn’t that complicated. What’s happening in Hollywood is what’s happening everywhere in the United States: Major corporations are making billions and billions of dollars off the labor of workers while refusing to pay them a living wage.

They’re doing it by refusing to negotiate a fair royalty system for streaming TV; by building “mini” writers rooms outside the negotiated structure, which has created a gig economy inside the unionized industry and left showrunners without fully staffed rooms; by stalling on regulating the use of AI in the creation process; by refusing Minimum Basic Agreement payments for full TV seasons; and by not engaging in good faith conversations about pensions and health plans. The contracts are shorter than ever, resulting in pay that is lower than ever, while the workload is more intense than ever. Major players like Ryan Murphy, Shonda Rhimes, and Greg Berlanti rake in multi-million dollar deals, and C-suite execs bring home higher salaries than ever, but the average TV and film writer is struggling to pull down an average working class income, much less build a career in the industry. Writer pay has, when adjusted for inflation, fallen 23% in the last ten years.

It’s particularly maddening considering the fact that without writers, there would be no scripted TV or movies. Writers are the only generative piece of the Hollywood puzzle, the only ones who actually create the things that get made and sold. Without writers, actors would have nothing to act, producers would have nothing to produce, directors would have nothing to direct, editors would have nothing to edit, and these studios wouldn’t have anything to build their multi-billion dollar companies on. Without the labor of writers, Hollywood, plainly, would not exist.

98.4 percent of WGA members voted to approve the demands that were taken to the AMPTP.

How Will the Writer’s Strike Affect New TV?

Late night TV will be going dark immediately, followed shortly by Saturday Night Live and daytime television. Your favorite shows have already been affected. The Yellowjackets writers room came together for a single day before the strike began. Abbott Elementary, which was supposed to get back to the writers room this week, won’t begin work until a fair contract is negotiated. In fact, most non-streaming shows begin the writing process during the summer, for seasons that begin in the fall. That’s Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19, 9-1-1, All American, Fantasy Island, NCIS Hawaii, etc.

For streamers, it’s a little different. For one thing, we don’t know how many shows each one has in the pipeline. However, unless they’re in post-production, they’re not going to get made. Even streaming shows that have full series scripts won’t be able to film without writers on hand for re-writes of dialogue or even full scenes. The same goes for films that have already bought scripts for production. Streamers will hold up longer, for sure, but they’re under immense pressure from Wall Street to get this taken care of. There’s no profit without writers and there’s no patience on Wall Street for no profits.

The last writers strike, in 2007, lasted 100 days and cost Hollywood an estimated $2.1 billion. Experts guess this strike will last at least two months.

How to Support the Writers Strike

I reached out to loads of queer TV writers to ask how we can support them during the strike because we want to be active participants in helping them get the contracts they deserve.

“When workers have to fight for a living wage, people get lost along the way. We’ve already lost too many LGBTQ, PoC, and disabled writers on the path that the studios have taken us down and we are fighting so we won’t lose more over not being paid fairly,” Abbott Elementary writer and WGA captain Brittani Nichols told me. “The best way to support our fight is to have a basic knowledge of our issues so that you won’t be swayed by the misinformation the studios will be pumping out to turn people against us. If you’re in a city with a picket line, we’d love to have people stand with us in solidarity.”

Daphne Miles, who has written for Batwoman, Legends of Tomorrow, and The Vampire Diaries, agrees. “One of the main ways people can support us writers in the strike (that none of us wanted!) is legitimately just being vocal and LOUD with your support,” she said. “There is bound to be a lot of mixed messaging and skewing facts to make us look like the bad guys, but it’s important to look at the SOURCE of what you are reading. Listen to WGA members, listen to the writers on the front lines who cannot pay their bills, but are still trying to make this industry sustainable not only for ourselves, but future generations of writers.”

The hashtag you’re looking for on Twitter is #WGAstrong — but that’s not the only place to get reliable information. Brittani has already started a Room Fits Instagram for writers on the picket line. Fashion and facts! And, of course, we’ll be following the strike closely and bringing you information in our weekly Pop Culture Fix and Also.Also.Also news round-ups.

“And of course,” Brittani asked me to remind you before signing off to head to the picket line, “don’t scab!”

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. Hey thanks for standing with writers!! It means a lot rn, especially since a lot of people (even within the film/tv industry) are staying silent on this issue. It’s wild that more people don’t care bc the numbers are so clear. Most writers I know are pretty scared rn since, y’know, they’re already underpaid and can’t exactly afford to be on strike. So 98% of guild members voting to strike tells you how badly we need a fair contract

  2. yes!!!

    it is horrifying how antiworker rhetoric has anyone believing corporations – or both sidesing major media – for a second about strikes. these corporations- and mostly cis male white humans in the 1% who control them – have gutted union legal power over my lifetime because they are greedy and afraid of being held accountable for exploiting all of the rest of us.

    strikes are HARD – harder than keeping your head down. workers strike for all workers and future workers.

    thank you WGA for striking!!!

    believe workers and don’t scab!!!

    i am curious to hear more about what crossing the picket lines means in an online world. . . should we stop logging onto these platforms?

    • Even outside of a virtual world, crossing picket lines originally meant the same thing as scabbing — working when your fellow workers are out on strike. Early in the labor movement, many more workers were involved in production of goods rather than distribution: a picket line at a factory is preventing people from working in the factory, not from buying things from that company that are already in stores.

      As the rich have encouraged a culture where we think of ourselves as consumers rather than workers, people moved from thinking about what they can do in solidarity as workers to what they can do as consumers. But the reality is that consumers’ power is nothing compared to workers’ power. Boycotts are rarely effective and the most famous successes of boycotts have not been good for workers in the long run. The famous UFW grape boycott required moving workers and organizers from organizing farm workers in the field, speaking to their fellow workers, to speaking to urban white liberals about the boycott. It transformed UFW towards an organization that never again built real worker power.

      This is hard to hear because we so desperately want to feel good about what we buy or don’t buy. And if the WGA asks us to do something like cancel Netflix subscriptions, we should. But unless they do, we’d all be better putting our energy into moral support, donating to strike funds, and if possible into organizing for power in our own workplaces.

  3. Thank you for making it clear where Autostraddle stands (I mean where else would they stand?) And reaching out to others on the front lines for all the additional research.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!