Netflix Creates $100 Million Fund to Aid Hollywood Labor Force
Netflix Inc. has created a $100 million fund to support Hollywood laborers put out of work by the coronavirus, deploying a safety net for thousands of people who work on film and TV productions.
The world’s largest paid streaming service said it will spend $85 million to support people working on its productions. Netflix pledged an additional $15 million to third parties, such as the Motion Picture and Television Fund and a disaster fund created by the largest U.S. union for actors.
Studios have halted productions around the world in response to the coronavirus, putting actors, writers, truck drivers, sound engineers and gaffers out of work. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, a labor union representing craftspeople in the entertainment industry, estimates 120,000 of its 150,000 members have lost work already.
Netflix spent about $15 billion on programming last year, and planned to top that figure this year. But the streaming service has halted production of scripted programming in the U.S. and Canada, and has shut down select productions around the world, including new seasons of “Stranger Things” and “The Witcher.” The company has already pledged two weeks’ pay to people working on its suspended projects.
The federal government is considering a multitrillion-dollar bailout of companies and small businesses affected by the current health crisis, but is still weighing which industries will receive financial support in the months ahead. Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman from Southern California, signed a letter calling for the government to support entertainment workers. Movie-theater owners, with which Netflix has often clashed, have also asked for help.
“This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide,” Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, wrote in a blog post.
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