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Netflix CEO Dragged For Hypocrisy After Claiming He Was 'Raised In A Union Household'

Ted Sarandos referenced his union electrician father in a statement that didn't go over well with striking WGA and SAG-AFTRA members.

Ted Sarandos
Dave Benett/Getty Images

Amidst the tension of the ongoing Hollywood writers and actors' strike, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos made a much-derided attempt at sympathy, sharing a personal anecdote about his upbringing in a union household in a statement about Netflix's quarterly earnings.

Sarandos highlighted his childhood experiences, recalling his father's role as a union electrician and the impact of strikes on their family. He acknowledged the financial and emotional toll that strikes take on families.

He wrote:

“I remember his local because that union was very much a part of our lives when I was growing up."
"And I also remember on more than one occasion my dad being out on strike."
"And I remember that because it takes an enormous toll on your family, financially and emotionally.”

However, his comments did not sit well with the striking workers.

They called out his statement on Twitter, questioning the sincerity of his words as industry insiders have also expressed skepticism about Sarandos' claim Netflix was "constantly" negotiating with the unions.

Netflix has faced extensive criticism from labor unions. One of the primary points of contention is Netflix's approach to residual pay, which is notably lower compared to network TV. This has led to actors from hit shows having to take on second jobs to make ends meet.

While Sarandos tried to evoke empathy by sharing his personal connection to unions, his words were met with skepticism and even backlash. Many workers view his story as hollow, especially considering the stark contrast between the substantial compensation he received last year—to the tune of $50 million—and the challenges faced by underpaid and laid-off Netflix employees.

Many criticized his hypocrisy as a result.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) initiated their strike on May 2, and SAG-AFTRA followed suit on July 13, marking the first double strike of actors and writers since 1960.

Both unions have united in their fight for higher wages, fair compensation from streaming platforms, and protection against the encroachment of artificial intelligence in the entertainment industry.

The impact of these strikes is far-reaching, and they have the potential to significantly affect California's economy. The last writers' strike in 2007-08 cost an estimated $2.1 billion, and with both unions now halting work, a much higher toll is anticipated.

As the strikes continue, the demands of the actors and writers stand firm, representing a united front against the studios' negotiation tactics and a determined effort to secure better working conditions and fair treatment in the rapidly evolving landscape of the entertainment industry.