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Daily Skimm: Hollywood’s actors are getting ready for the picket lines.

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A sign reads 'Unions Stand Together' as SAG-AFTRA members walk the picket line in solidarity with striking WGA (Writers Guild of America) workers outside Netflix offices on July 11, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Story

Hollywood’s actors are getting ready for the picket lines.

What’s going on?

Today, SAG-AFTRA said they’ve unanimously voted to recommend a strike. For weeks, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) — a union that represents 160,000 actors — has been working on new contract negotiations with studios. The union is asking for higher pay (including royalties) and limits on how AI is used in the industry. The studios asked federal mediators to step in and help sort out the drama. Studios missed the Thursday negotiations deadline. Now, the SAG-AFTRA board will vote today at 9 AM PST on an official strike.

Give me the potential preview.

The actors could join the more than 11,000 Hollywood writers who've been on strike since May. It could be the first time since 1960 that both unions walk out at the same time. The actors' strike may not majorly impact the highly-anticipated “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” films next week, but it could affect everything from 2024 movie releases to international productions. In a joint statement, the several Hollywood boards said “Hollywood must be a place where every worker, on-screen and off, is treated according to the value their skills and talents command.” The studios haven’t commented on the latest contract negotiations.


Hollywood is facing a reckoning as the streaming era and AI threaten how actors and writers produce content and how they're compensated. It’s now up to negotiators if the audience can get a season finale to this new type of drama.

and also...this

What could be doing more than crunching numbers…

Tax prep firms. Yesterday, a congressional report found that H&R Block, TaxSlayer, and TaxAct shared the financial data of tens of millions of customers with Meta and Google. That includes filing status, adjusted gross income, and tax refund amounts. The report found the tax companies used code that tracks visitor activity — tech used by most websites — “for at least a couple of years.” It also found the companies removed or disabled the tracking code from their sites last year after The Markup reported the privacy breach. Meta said it used the taxpayer info to target ads and train its AI algorithms. TaxSlayer reportedly said the report “contains numerous false or misleading statements,” and H&R Block said it takes protecting client privacy “very seriously.” Now, lawmakers have called on the gov to investigate and “prosecute any company or individuals who violated the law.”

…Oh and speaking of obtaining private info, yesterday, the gov said it's investigating how Chinese hackers breached the emails of State and Commerce Dept leaders. The attack targeted at least a dozen organizations.

Who’s doing an unboxing…

Elon Musk. Yesterday, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced the launch of his new AI company, xAI. Musk, who's been an avid supporter of AI, has also warned of the tech’s potential for “civilizational destruction.” Now, his new company is comprised of former employees from DeepMind, OpenAI, and Google. xAI says the goal is “to understand the true nature of the universe,” but many say it's the latest competitor in an ever-developing AI world. The company will share more details during a live Twitter Spaces event tomorrow.

Who's playing the waiting game...

NATO. Yesterday, the transatlantic alliance wrapped up its two-day summit without providing Ukraine with a timeline on its membership request. The group said Ukraine can’t join while Russia’s invasion is still ongoing. Instead, leaders promised to give Ukraine a fresh supply of weapons and ammunition to help fight the war.

While actors may be hitting pause...

Here’s a look at who made the Emmys cut.

What was full of MVPs...

The ESPY Awards.

Why we’re feeling fired up…

Free fries on National French Fry Day.

On Our Radar

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