Amid the ongoing strike by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), prominent actors, including This Is Us star Mandy Moore and Scandal alum Katie Lowes, have taken to the picket lines to demand fair compensation for streaming residuals. The strike commenced on July 14, after the union failed to reach a satisfactory agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
On July 18, actors were seen picketing outside Disney Studios in Burbank, passionately advocating for changes in the residuals payment structure. Mandy Moore, who portrayed the matriarch of the Pearson family in the popular series This Is Us for six seasons, revealed during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she and others have received minuscule checks for their streaming residuals, sometimes as little as a few cents.
“The residual issue is a huge issue,” Mandy emphasized. “Many actors in our position before us were able to live off residuals or at least pay their bills. The entire model has changed, and it’s impacting working actors who once relied on residuals to sustain them during leaner periods.”
Katie Lowes, who joined Mandy Moore on the picket lines, echoed the sentiment, claiming she had received nothing substantial in streaming residuals from Disney’s deals with platforms like Netflix and Hulu. She lamented the loss of residuals as a reliable source of income for actors who once benefited from the re-airing of successful shows.
In addition to the strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been on a separate strike since May 2, further highlighting the challenges faced by both actors and writers in the entertainment industry.
Mandy Moore also took to Instagram on July 19 to clarify her initial comments on residuals, expressing her gratitude for her position while acknowledging the changing nature of the industry. She emphasized that striking was not a desired outcome, but actors felt compelled to take action to address the various issues affecting their livelihoods.
“I want to bring a bit more clarity to a very nuanced issue,” she wrote. “Striking isn’t fun. No one hoped it would come to this and I know everyone involved is hopeful for a resolution soon so folks can get back to work. The trickle-down effect felt across so many industries is already devastating. There are plenty of issues that are gumming up the wheels (transparency with data, wage increases, residuals, ai, etc…) and I spoke about one that happened to be top of my mind because of a conversation I’d been having while picketing.”
“I fully acknowledge the profoundly lucky and rarified position I’m in as an actor at this moment, one that I don’t take for granted and one I also don’t assume to be in forever. Ours is a fickle industry and in my 20+ years of being a performer, my career has ebbed and flowed. I’ve had very lean years where I couldn’t get a job and those are precisely the moments when in years past, actors could rely on residuals from their past work to help them get by. The world and business have changed and I’m hoping we can find a meaningful solution moving forward.”