After harsh blowback, Drew Barrymore shed a few tears while apologizing to the currently striking Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) — but said she will continue production of her daytime talker The Drew Barrymore Show.
In a video posted to Instagram on Friday, Barrymore, 48, tried to offer an explanation for her decision to resume filming despite the ongoing writers’ strike.
“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” Barrymore started. “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.”
In the video, Barrymore appeared makeup-free and was wearing a slouchy pink sweater with her glasses on her head. At times, she seemed to be reading something behind her camera.
“I know there is just nothing I can do that will make this OK to those that it is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that,” she said as she became visibly emotional. “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,” she said.
Barrymore tried to answer questions about why she would choose to continue the show amid the strike — and without her team of WGA writers.
“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,” she said.
Barrymore said she does not have a “PR machine behind her.”
“I didn’t want to hide behind people, so I won’t, and I won’t polish this with bells and whistles and publicists and corporate rhetoric,” she said. “I’ll just stand out there and accept and be responsible.”
She spoke about how, since The Drew Barrymore Show first launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s always envisioned the production as “a show that was there for people in sensitive times.”
“I weighed the scales and I thought, ‘If we could go on during a global pandemic and everything the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?’” she said. “So, I want to just put one foot in front of the other and make a show that’s there for people, regardless of anything else that’s happening in the world, because that’s when I think we all need something that wants to be there being very realistic in very realistic times. So that is my why.”
In a statement released Sunday, Barrymore said that she personally owns the decision to resume production of The Drew Barrymore Show.
“I own this choice,” the 50 First Dates actor said in a statement. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind.”
Already, Barrymore’s apology has not been well received. Many of her critics, and upset WGA members, said if she were truly sorry, she would cease filming The Drew Barrymore Show.
Drew Barrymore releasing an apology for something she said she is going to continue to do is the funniest thing possible like girl….read the room?
— goofy girl (@midwestbimbo) September 15, 2023
POV: you’re outside Drew Barrymore’s door while she films her apology video pic.twitter.com/sf39vS5mnE
— Christian Garcia (@moldylamp) September 15, 2023
Since the release of her initial statement, many WGA members and supporters have questioned whether Barrymore is a “scab” or will employ “scab writers” in place of union members. (A scab is someone who crosses picket lines to work in place of a striking employee.)
This week, Barrymore’s decision to resume production saw her dropped as the host of the 74th U.S. National Book Awards.
“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the foundation wrote in a statement. “In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”
An update on the host of the 2023 National Book Awards. pic.twitter.com/aa5aLh0FIU
— National Book Foundation (@nationalbook) September 12, 2023
Resuming production of ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’
The Drew Barrymore Show began taping new episodes at the CBS Broadcast Center in New York City this week, despite little sign of resolution in the ongoing writers’ strike.
As a result, episodes of the talk show filmed during the strike will not employ any writers who belong to the Writers Guild of America (WGA).
The decision angered members and supporters of the WGA, several of whom protested outside the CBS Broadcast Center during this week’s filming. Numerous striking staff writers from The Drew Barrymore were in attendance and carried picket signs while they chanted, “We don’t get it. Shut it down!”
WGA strike: Day 133
SAG strike: Day 60
My 39th day picketing
Today we picketed Drew Barrymore, who’s producing her show while her own writers are on strike. Sorry Drew. But also, what the hell are you doing. pic.twitter.com/cNrGWxTPVO
— Avishai ✡ Weinberger (@avishaiw) September 11, 2023
Writers Guild of America, East said any writing currently being done on The Drew Barrymore Show is in violation of the WGA strike.
The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” is in violation of WGA strike rules.
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 10, 2023
Barrymore’s work as host of the talk show is not in violation of any strike rules. According to Variety, actors on CBS’ The Drew Barrymore Show are covered by a different SAG-AFTRA contract than the one currently in dispute.
New episodes of The Drew Barrymore Show are expected to air starting Sept. 18.
The Drew Barrymore Show is not the only production making the choice to return despite ongoing strikes. Warner Bros. Television’s The Jennifer Hudson Show and CBS’s The Talk are also set to return to production in the coming weeks. These productions will also continue without employing WGA writers.
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