Amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, some A-listers are giving big to help their fellow performers.
Amid the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, some of Hollywood's highest-earning actors are giving big to help their fellow performers.
SAG-AFTRA Foundation President Courtney B. Vance announced on Wednesday that the nonprofit has raised over $15 million in the past three weeks for its Emergency Financial Assistance Program -- led by Dwayne Johnson's historic seven-figure donation last month -- in order to "bring aid and hope to thousands of journeymen actors facing tremendous economic hardship" during the strikes and work stoppage.
To date, the growing list of Patrons of the Foundation’s Emergency Financial Assistance Program who have made donations of $1 million or more are:
George and Amal Clooney
Luciana and Matt Damon
Hugh Jackman and Deborra-lee Furness
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck
Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively
"The entertainment industry is in crisis and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation is currently processing more than 30 times our usual number of applications for emergency aid," Vance said in a statement on the SAG-AFTRA website. "Our Emergency Financial Assistance Program is here to ensure that performers in need don’t lose their homes, have the ability to pay for utilities, buy food for their families, purchase life-saving prescriptions, cover medical bills and more. It's a massive challenge, but we're determined to meet this moment."
"For more than 38 years, the Foundation has been a safety net for our community during its most challenging times, and much like the COVID pandemic, this work stoppage magnifies the precarious living conditions and financial distress of many actors living paycheck to paycheck," he continued. "I appealed to our community to remember how tough it was coming up, and the response to help their fellow performers has been incredible, immediate and heartwarming... We’ve crushed our initial goal because our people are coming together, but we still aren’t done. Our fundraising will continue in order to meet the overwhelming needs of our community now and in the future.”
Streep also provided a statement, remembering her early acting days when she worked "as a waiter, cleaner, typist, even my time on the unemployment line."
"In this strike action, I am lucky to be able to support those who will struggle in a long action to sustain against Goliath," the Oscar winner added. "We will stand strong together against these powerful corporations who are bent on taking the humanity, the human dignity, even the human out of our profession. I am proudest of my fellow actors who have immediately offered to fund the Emergency Financial Assistance Program."
Clooney also stated, "We stand ready to get back to the table and make a fair deal with the AMPTP. Until then, I’m proud to be able to support the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and my fellow actors who may be struggling in this historic moment. We’ve stood on the shoulders of the likes of Bette Davis and Jimmy Cagney and it’s time for our generation to give something back. I can’t thank Courtney enough for his determination in putting this effort together by shedding light on the human toll happening right now, and how we can work together to alleviate some of the pain and suffering."
On July 14, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), which represent more than 160,000 film and television actors, officially went on strike after they were unable to reach an agreement with major Hollywood studios and streamers by the July 12 deadline. Because of this, nearly all productions in Hollywood have been forced to shut down, which have already had an immediate impact in the industry with canceled premieres, axed publicity tours, delayed projects and abandoned sets.
In May, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike after failing to reach an agreement with major Hollywood studios over fair compensation, particularly in the wake of the expansion of streaming services since the last major contract dispute in 2007. At that time, the union fought for greater funding for writers' rooms and DVD residuals.
This is the first time both unions have been on strike at the same time since 1960.
For more of ET's coverage on the strikes, check out the links below.