Audience members at the Drew Barrymore Show got kicked out for their WGA pins

Drew Barrymore took to her Instagram on Sunday to announce her decision to bring back her talk show, despite the ongoing Hollywood strikes. Although Drew is a SAG-AFTRA member, her hosting duties fall under a separate contract, and thus she is not breaking any SAG-AFTRA strike rules. As for whether the move is breaking WGA strike rules, at first glance it seems complicated. Late night talk shows stopped production as soon as the writers strike began in early May — part of why hosts started the Strike Force Five podcast to raise money for their writers — while daytime talk shows like The View have carried on, claiming they’re simply not using their union writers. So perhaps the opinion that matters most right now is that of the WGA itself, and they say that The Drew Barrymore Show returning now is unequivocally a violation of strike rules:

The Writers Guild of America, East announced it would be picketing Barrymore’s New York based daytime talk show.

“The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers,” a tweet from their Twitter account reads. “The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of the WGA strike rules.”

In her statement Barrymore, who is one of the show’s executive producers, wrote that she owns the choice to return to production at a time when many talk shows have gone dark in solidarity with the strikes.

“We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic,” she wrote. “Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.”

A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, which produces the talk show, told CNN in a statement that “The Drew Barrymore Show will not be performing any writing work covered by the WGA strike.”

[From CNN]

So basically the producers (who the unions are striking against) are using the same line as The View. It’s a very technical, lawyer-approved way of saying the shows are not using work by union members. Which means they’re saying — by omission — that non-union writers or producers are generating material. Honestly my takeaway is that we’re late in asking why The View, Live with Kelly and Mark, et al are still in production.

But wait, there’s more! As if Drew hadn’t landed herself in enough of a quagmire, on Monday her crew kicked out (and allegedly “verbally assaulted”) two audiences members who showed up to a taping wearing WGA pins:

Meanwhile, X/Twitter user Dominic Turiczek took to social media to document being “kicked out” of today’s “Drew Barrymore Show” taping.

“Went to @DrewBarrymoreTV after winning tickets, unaware of the #WGA strike. We took pins & went in, got kicked out, & verbally assaulted by @DrewBarrymore ‘s crew. It’s clear they don’t support #WGAStrong, writers or fans! #DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. F— that,” Turiczek wrote.

“We knew about the #WGA strike, just not that they were picketing at Drew’s show. We were unaware until inside, that her show had WGA writers, thus crossing picket lines by starting again. We won the tickets last minute and didn’t do enough research, clearly,” the message continued.

In a statement to Variety, a “Drew Barrymore Show” spokesperson addressed the booted audience members.

“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings,” the spokesperson said. “Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets.”

[From Variety]

What a mess! I’m dying to know if the show does reach out and make the situation right, like really make a teachable moment out of it and invite them back to speak for a minute, wearing the damn pins. Or will the show do it Buckingham Palace style, wait a few weeks and invite them to sit with the crew members who attacked them? Do let us know, Dominic!

The last point I want to make is that if Drew really isn’t breaking strike rules, and by that I mean not employing writers or any written material. If that is the case, then the show will be… Drew speaking extemporaneously? Unless your name is Stephen Fry, any actor-turned-host who thinks they can deliver quality material off the cuff for 30-60 minutes 5 days a week, well they might actually end up convincing the studios to give the writers everything they want.

— Dominic Turiczek (@dom_turiczek) September 11, 2023

photos credit: JPI Studios / Avalon and via Instagram

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