UPDATED with video removed from Instagram: Drew Barrymore has posted an emotional apology to the WGA over her decision to return to her daytime talk show amid the ongoing Hollywood strikes. But the scribes’ guild is not feeling very forgiving it seems.
“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” Barrymore said on Friday afternoon, holding back tears in a video posted on Instagram, which was removed later Friday. “I wanted to own a decision, so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation, and I would just take full responsibility for my actions.”
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“I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with,” Barrymore continued. “I fully accept that. I fully understand that. There are so many reasons why this is so complex, and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anymore. It’s not who I am. I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them.”
“I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions,” Barrymore said.
“There’s a huge question of the why — why am I doing this?” she continued. “Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t going to break rules and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this, because as I said, this is bigger than me and there are other people’s jobs on the line.”
The Writers Guild of America also saw a bigger issue at play in Barrymore bringing her show back while picket signs are still up.
“Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal,” a guild spokesperson told Deadline today after the ET actress’ video went up. “In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work.”
A spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, The Drew Barrymore Show producer and distributor, released a statement in response to WGA, saying they “are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules.” CBS also noted its hosts work under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA that allows Barrymore and other daytime hosts to continue hosting their shows. “While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends,” the statement emphasized, adding “No one on our staff will fill a writing position.” You can read the entire statement at the bottom of the story.
While The View has been on TV uninturrupted since the WGA went out on strike on May 2, the likes of The Talk and Real Time with Bill Maher are now planning to join Barrymore and soon return to air. A member of the WGA himself, Maher pledges there will be no writers on his HBO show while the strike continues — though how that can be if the accredited and awards nominated writer Maher himself is on the show seems hard to fathom.
In her earlier statement in which she said was returning to her daytime show, Barrymore said “I made a choice to walk away from the MTV, film and television awards because I was the host and it had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television,” Barrymore said in a statement she shared on Instagram. “It was also in the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers.”
She continued, “And to be clear, our talk show actually wrapped on April 20th so we never had to shut down the show. However, I am also making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me. I own this choice. 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. 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. I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility.”
Full statement from CBS Media Ventures:
“As The Drew Barrymore Show returns with original episodes on Monday we are very mindful and sensitive to the complex circumstances surrounding the show’s return and we will be in full compliance with all our labor agreements and any strike rules. Our host works under a separate agreement with SAG-AFTRA (“The Network Code”) that allows Drew and other daytime hosts to continue hosting the show. While our show has been largely an unscripted talk show from the beginning, the new shows we are producing this season will be completely unscripted until the strike ends. No one on our staff will fill a writing position. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous, open and honest conversations to her viewers and that will continue. The show also moves forward with important consideration to our staff and crew comprised of over 150 people, as well as our loyal viewers. We fully support Drew and her entire team 100%.”
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