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Shady Tactics In the Summer Sun

Striking actors and writers are accusing NBC Universal of callously trimming city-owned trees to the nubs, depriving picketers of the much-needed shade during the sweltering heat. L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia is investigating as the trees maintenance is the city’s responsibility.

The image of these destroyed trees serves a chilling symbol of the studios overall disrespect for life itself. Keep in mind these billionaire studio moguls just a few weeks ago said they wanted actors and writers to “bleed out” and “lose their homes.” And, here we see a real-time demonstration of that attitude: the studios are callously mowing down anything that stands in the way of their pursuit of profit. NBC demonstrates a perverse lack of regard for the well-being of its workers and the environment itself. This is an attack on nature, a disregard for humanity, a prioritization of financial gains over the lives and dignity of those who make NBC’s creative empire possible. This display of disregard for life is a stark reminder of the urgent need for comprehensive change within the entertainment industry.

The alarming actions taken by NBC have eerie echoes of past labor disputes, where corporations have shown callous disregard for their workers’ well-being… like the historic 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, where poor working conditions and locked exit doors resulted in the tragic death of 146 garment workers, mostly young women. During the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, workers sparked by wage cuts and miserable working conditions, faced brutal suppression. These pivotal events laid the groundwork for the labor movement’s growth and NBC and the studios of today are trying to turn back the clock on all those hard-won gains.

Throughout my own life, NBC’s programming held a special place in my heart, inspiring me to pursue a career in the entertainment business. Working on iconic shows like The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live brought immeasurable pride and joy. However, witnessing the studio’s blatant disregard for life itself, and the ignoring of the basic needs and well-being of its workers and its relentless pursuit of profits at any cost, leaves me disgusted. It is disheartening to see such blatant disregard for very individuals who contributed to NBC and other studios’ success.

What NBC and the other studios don’t realize, if they are not careful, they will spark a nationwide movement. They don’t realize their continued nefarious actions will only further unite the working people in this country and beyond. In the meantime, I urge NBC to promptly use it’s vast arsenal of grip equipment to immediately install shade where the trees once stood.

It’s time for change – a change that prioritizes fairness, compassion, and a genuine concern for the people who breathe life into the creative worlds we cherish.

In Solidarity,

Rich Talarico

WGA West Presidential Candidate