“We admire Ted Sarandos’s singular work translating literature to artful presentation onscreen, and his stalwart defense of free expression and satire,” PEN America said in a statement. “As a writers organization, we have been following recent events closely and understand his decision.”
The writers’ picket lines have successfully disrupted the productions of some shows, including the Showtime series “Billions” and the Apple TV+ drama “Severance.” On Sunday, the MTV Movie & TV Awards turned into a pretaped affair after the W.G.A. announced it was going to picket that event. The W.G.A. also said on Thursday it would picket the commencement address that David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros. Discovery, is scheduled to give on the campus of Boston University on May 21.
One of the writers’ complaints is how their residual pay, a type of royalty, has been disrupted by streaming. Years ago, writers for network television shows could get residual payments every time a show was licensed, whether for syndication, broadcast overseas or a DVD sale.
But streaming services like Netflix, which traditionally does not license its programs, have cut off those distribution arms. Instead, the services provide a fixed residual, which writers say has effectively lowered their pay. The A.M.P.T.P., which bargains on behalf of the studios, said last week that it had already offered increased residual payments as part of the negotiations.
Outside Netflix’s Los Angeles headquarters on Wednesday, writers on picket lines expressed dismay that the company was beginning to make money off advertising.
“If they make money doing ads, my guess would be that ads will become a bigger revenue stream for them,” said Christina Strain, a writer on Netflix’s sci-fi spectacle “Shadow and Bone.” “And then we’re just working for network television without getting network pay.”
Sapna Maheshwari contributed reporting.