How the Hollywood strikes are affecting social-media influencers, who are turning away brand deals and 5-figure paychecks to follow SAG-AFTRA rules – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

How the Hollywood strikes are affecting social-media influencers, who are turning away brand deals and 5-figure paychecks to follow SAG-AFTRA rules

Jasmine Paige Moore, a social-media influencer, stands on the picket lines during the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Courtesy of Jasmine Paige Moore

The ongoing Hollywood strikes have thrown some social-media creators into disarray.Many creators who previously promoted Hollywood films and TV shows are passing on those jobs.They’re seeking ways to make money without running afoul of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union.

In Hollywood, strikes by actors and writers against studios, networks, and streamers have been underway for months over a variety of issues from residuals to artificial intelligence. The ripple effects of the labor stoppages reach far beyond union members on the picket lines, however. 

Members of the creator economy — the growing industry of influencers and online personalities who generate content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram — often have ambitions beyond the mobile screen, including to become actors or writer-producers. Some are already members of the actors’ guild, SAG-AFTRA, which began welcoming influencers in 2021, while many others are hoping to join as they make more progress in their careers.

This summer, SAG-AFTRA warned Hollywood creators who have previously performed paid work for studios — like appearances on red carpets at premieres or promotion of upcoming films and TV shows — that accepting such contracts or paid gigs during the strike could bar those influencers from being admitted to the union later. (This guidance dovetails with what SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America have told current members — that they are prohibited during this period from promoting new content they’ve worked on before the strikes, should the studios release it now.)

It’s a warning that creators aren’t taking lightly, with some pivoting or postponing the development of new Hollywood-related content altogether.

‘We’re casualties of this,’ one creator says

Jasmine Paige Moore, a movie-focused creator who has nearly 470,000 followers on TikTok, told Insider in a first-person account that she’s asked her manager to pause sending new opportunities tied to studios or film launches. She has also gathered other creators on the picket lines to show their support. But the process hasn’t been easy, she added — Moore said she’s turned down multiple five-figure paychecks this summer to avoid running afoul of SAG-AFTRA rules, and has had to take up bartending to make ends meet during a painful financial crunch.

She said creators have experienced a “mob mentality” and “harsh rhetoric” from those who have taken up the mantle of policing influencers to ensure they don’t cross the picket line, and she experienced a “heavy depression” by having to forgo creating content she loves or engaging in activities like cosplay.

“We are casualties of this,” Moore added, explaining that some creators she knows have been privately raising questions about how long the strike could last and what it could mean for their financial well-being.

“The implicit message from the actors’ guild is: We’re the gatekeepers of the career you want. If you don’t follow our rules, you won’t be able to join us. That door will be closed to you,” added Moore, who said she worries about the creators who may abandon Hollywood entirely when this is all over.

A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson told Insider in a statement that the changes its members are striking for “will benefit everyone in the years to come” and the guild is “committed to working with [creators] to navigate strike rules as they look for new partnership opportunities during this time.”

Showing support for the unions

Other creators are finding fresh ways to stay relevant during this period while being mindful of adhering to the picket line. Joseph Arujo, a TikTok personality counting about 861,000 followers on that platform, has been doubling down on music-related content, a space less prone to landing him in hot water with guild supporters. 

Earlier this summer, Arujo came under fire from online critics after posting about attending a film premiere in July. “It was at that point I decided it might just be better to completely shift away from that kind of content,” he told Insider in an interview.

Joe Aragon, a TikTok creator whose account, Cinema Joe, commands nearly 950,000 followers and is famed for its movie reviews and film-related content, said he’s in solidarity with the actors and writers as well, emphasizing that they’re “not asking for anything over the moon” and are “striking for essentially their basic need to survive.”

In an interview with Insider, he called on other creators to hold the line. “I may be facing a toll, creators may be facing a toll, because of the strike, but you know who else is facing a toll? The writers and the actors,” he said. Aragon added that he’s told studios that he’s withdrawing his services indefinitely and might resume once the labor stoppages have ended.

“I’m making changes in my life to make sure that I’m going to be safe and OK,” he explained, which could include taking a part-time job if necessary. 

“This is a monumental time, a historic time in the industry,” Aragon concluded, “and if that means losing out on a couple brand deals and I can’t promote a movie or two that’s coming up, I will happily accept that this is so much bigger than that.”

Insider correspondent Reed Alexander is a member of SAG-AFTRA.

Are you a member of the creator economy or have thoughts to share on the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes in Hollywood? Contact these reporters: Reed Alexander can be reached via email at [email protected], and Shriya Bhattacharya can be reached at [email protected]

Read the original article on Business Insider
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