Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is taking part in “hot labor summer,” appearing alongside writers and actors on a picket line outside of Netflix’s Manhattan offices.
“We have workers all across the country — either currently on strike or gearing up to be on strike — because at the end of the day we are all facing the same challenge, which is an unacceptable, unprecedented concentration of wealth and corporate greed in America,” the New York Democrat told the protestors, via The Hollywood Reporter. "But we know that the way that we bust that up is by standing together in solidarity."
Hollywood writers announced their strike at the beginning of May, with actors joining their forces just two weeks ago. The 160,000 actors together with the 11,000 writers could halt Hollywood productions into next year. Like writers, actors seek contracts that accommodate their work in new age of streaming services, as well as regulations to AI usage in the industry that protect their digital likeness and intellectual property.
AI is a large focus of the strikes, as writers are currently asking studios not to use the technology to write scripts or finish projects. Tools like ChatGPT pull from existing materials to generate content, making it near impossible to protect intellectual property and existing copyright if the tool remains unregulated.
Actors are also protesting proposals from studios which offer only one-time payments for their likeness. After scanning their faces and bodies, studios have put forth that they should be able to use actors' images without compensation or permission on any future projects.
Ocasio-Cortez highlighted AI in her remarks Monday, noting that "while this is a fight against AI,” the protests are also “more than AI — this is a fight against greed. This is a fight against the endless pursuit of more wealth.”
“Your fight right here is what’s gonna bust this thing wide open. Direct action gets the goods, now and always," Ocasio-Cortez said. The only way that we can do this is by showing them that we are stronger — that our solidarity is stronger than their greed, that our care for one another will overcome their endless desire for more."