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Zachary Levi Claims His Comments About Strike Rules Being 'So Dumb' Were Taken Out Of Context

The actor released a statement about his comments 'made in jest' about the SAG-AFTRA strike rules that permit members from promoting past or present projects.

Zachary Levi
Jason Mendez/Getty Images

Zachary Levi went into damage control mode after appearing to make a comment at a fan convention that slammed one of the rules of the actors strike.

A video of him at the Manchester Comic-Con in the UK circulated online of him griping about not being able to discuss his earlier works on TV and film.

In the clip, he snickered:

"I’m not allowed to talk about…. This is so dumb."
"I’m not allowed to talk about any of my previous work."

Last month, union members joined the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to fight for better compensation and future job security against the backdrop of increased streaming content and advanced A.I.–generated entertainment.

During the strike, members of the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are forbidden to discuss or promote struck companies, including the work they've done for them in the past.

In the video, Levi chuckled in disbelief at the situation.

“I’m not allowed to talk about movies that I may be a superhero in."
"I’m not allowed to talk about TV shows that I may have been a nerd who worked at a Best Buy."
"I’m not allowed to talk about any animated princess movies that I was fantastic in—as the best prince ever!"
"I’m not allowed to talk about those things.”

Disciplinary actions for violating the strike order could include a fine, censure, expulsion from the union, or suspension from the union.

Many compared Levi to actor Stephen Amell, who also spoke at a fan convention last month and claimed that he stood by his union but didn't support the strike, calling it a "reductive negotiating tactic" and "myopic."

Here is the video of Levi's comments from Manchester Comic-Con.

It was unclear what he said before and after his critical comment.

People shared mixed responses.

Levi addressed the backlash when the video began circulating last Thursday.

He said in a statement on Friday:

“It’s come to my attention that an offhand remark I made in jest last weekend is being taken out of context."
"So let me be very clear. I fully support my union, the WGA, and the strike."

He continued:

"I remain an outspoken critic of the exploitative system that us artists are subject to work in since I started my journey in this business 25 years ago."
"This strike is necessary to protect ourselves, our writers, and all those working in production who make the industry move.”

Levi then claimed he was only concerned about his fans.

He said:

“We also cannot forget our fans during this strike."
"Fans that spend their money and energy traveling far distances to talk with us about our work that means so much to them, we should be able to engage."
"Our business exists and succeeds because of the fans, and I think it’s imperative we appreciate them for their support of our careers.”

Not everyone was convinced by his statement.

However, one commenter thought this could all have been avoided in the first place.

Last month, Levi posted an Instagram video passionately expressing his full support for the strike.

“[The studio executives] do not care about human life, they don’t care about, really, life in general. They care about profits."
“It’s always profit over people and not the other way around."
"So mark my words, if we don’t do something drastic right now…we’re doing something very drastic, and we need to be doing this very drastic thing."
"We need to be striking, we should have done this years ago.”

The WGA has been on strike since May.

Members are protesting against what they called "gig economy" conditions created by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major studios and streamers like Amazon, Apple, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

SAG/AFTRA's negotiating committee unanimously voted to support the WGA by joining them on strike after they couldn't reach an agreement with AMPTP after contracts expired on July 12, 2023.