Fran Drescher had planned to read a simple statement on the start of the SAG-AFTRA strike at the July 13 union rally and then answer a few questions.
But as the President stood before her members, she was moved to say much more.
“You guys are crazy – why are you doing this?” she said while recounting weeks of negotiations with the AMPTP that have left many union members feeling “insulted”.
“You’re on the wrong side of history,” she continued. “Right now, we stand in solidarity with unprecedented unity. Our union and sister unions, as well as unions around the world, stand by us and other unions because eventually we will get there. They cannot continue to be disadvantaged, excluded, disrespected and dishonored. The entire business model has been transformed by streaming, digital and AI. This is a historic moment. This is a moment of truth.”
The heated comments came off the cuff, Drescher said after looking at her prepared remarks and dismissing them.
“I took a quick look at it and was like, ‘You know what, I can’t say this, I really feel like I have to speak from the heart,'” said the former “Nanny” star said the Associated Press in an interview at the union headquarters. “It just came out of my mouth and I’m glad I was able to express myself as succinctly, honestly and authentically as I did. And I find it fascinating when you speak from the heart, people are so receptive. Because I think you see a lot of people who don’t.”
The union leader told the AP she believes the strikes now crippling Hollywood are part of a larger issue about how companies value shareholders to the people who work for them.
“I think it’s bigger than the sum of its parts,” she said of the actors’ union joining the writers’ unions on the picket line. I think it’s now a conversation about the culture of big business and how it treats everyone up and down in the name of profit.”
She said the business has changed drastically since the late 1990s when she starred in her sitcom. I’m very grateful that I had my big breakthrough during this time and not this time,” said Drescher. “When I started at CBS with ‘The Nanny,’ it was still a family business. You knew who the owners were and could talk to them. And everything has changed.”
“Now you have a business model where the CEOs are more connected to the shareholders and not to the people who are actually making the product that they are selling,” she said. “I think you have a breakdown that is unsustainable.”
Nevertheless, Drescher lamented the failure of the talks with the AMPTP.
“I don’t really understand what the silent treatment is,” Drescher said. “It could be a tactical strategy to see if we can wait them out until we lose our resolve and then they can get a better deal for themselves.”
But she said that won’t happen.
Drescher said that such a thing will not happen.
“This is a turning point,” she said. “I don’t think anyone in charge of the AMPTP really understands that.
“This is not like any previous hearing. We are in a whole new ball game. And unless things change radically, I honestly believe that this strike will eventually do them great harm.”