Apparently, not everyone on Dancing with the Stars is content to cross the WGA’s picket line. Actor and writers guild member Matt Walsh has decided to sashay away from the show in deference to his union, as pickets continue outside the studio.
In a statement posted to his verified Instagram account, the Veep alum wrote that he’s “taking a pause from Dancing with the Stars until an agreement is made with the WGA.” He added that he’d initially joined the show “under the impression that it was not a WGA show and fell under a different agreement.
On Thursday morning, however, the union apparently informed Walsh that DWTS “is considered struck work,” at which point, he wrote, he walked out of rehearsal.
“I have been and always will stand with my union members of the WGA, SAG[-AFTRA] and DGA,” Walsh added. “Beyond our union artists, I am sensitive to the many people impacted by the strike and I hope for a speedy and fair resolution, and to one day work again with all the wonderful people I met at DWTS who tolerated my dancing.”
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Dancing with the Stars might be an unscripted series, but it has signed the WGA’s minimum basic agreement and once employed one of its members. THR adds that ABC “may delay” the show’s Season 32 premiere, which has faced pickets weeklong during filming.
Because Dancing with the Stars operates under a separate contract from the one SAG-AFTRA is currently striking, participating actors union members are not in violation of their union’s strike—although, as THR notes, that hasn’t stopped some of their fellow union members from calling them (and Walsh) out by name from the picket line.
If America’s favorite dancing show does choose to defer its premiere, it will be in good company. CBS’s The Drew Barrymore Show called off its planned Season 4 return after a wave of intense backlash, as have Real Time with Bill Maher, The Talk, and The Jennifer Hudson Show.
Meanwhile, WGA members have continued to speak out against The View for continuing to film without its unionized writers. At one demonstration, Monarch showrunner Melissa London Hilfers told Deadline that the decision constitutes “a huge slap in the face of labor.”
As Drew Barrymore co-head writer Cristina Kinon put it to The Daily Beast before the show backed off its return plans, she and her colleagues (and all the other striking WGA writers) are standing together with a membership that is tens of thousands strong. “And then, expanding out more, we’re standing with all of labor and all of the unions across the world, because that is how it works. Unions only work when you stick together with unions across the labor spectrum.”