How the rules apply to influencers, journalists, cosplayers and more

The SAG-AFTRA strike has sparked a lot of discussion and confusion about what is prohibited and what is still acceptable. SAG-AFTRA has posted a detailed FAQ for members, non-members, independent producers and other groups.

But people still have questions. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

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I am a film critic. Can I watch movies again?

Absolutely. Critics are not on strike and are not required to stop reviewing movies or TV shows.

I’m an entertainment journalist. Can I cover movies and TV?

Yes. Entertainment journalists, whether unionized or not, are not on strike. Even broadcast journalists represented by SAG-AFTRA are not affected, as the strike only concerns the TV/Theatre contract.

I’m an entertainment journalist. Will an actor talk to me about his project?

Probably not. This would promote strike work. They can, however, talk about why they are on strike.

What if the actor wants to talk about his project and sets up the interview through his personal publicist and not through the studio?

It’s still not OK, according to SAG-AFTRA. (WGA softened on this after a few weeks, but SAG-AFTRA did not.)

I do not belong to SAG-AFTRA. How can I show my support for the strike?

You can post on social media and you can donate to the Entertainment Community Fund, which supports crew members who are unemployed. The union has also encouraged non-members to show up at picket lines and rallies. A list of picket locations is here.

Should I boycott Netflix?

Neither the WGA nor SAG-AFTRA have called for a boycott of Netflix or any other platform, and it won’t make much difference if you do it yourself.

Can SAG-AFTRA members do reality shows or game shows?

Yes. The union helpfully released a document listing all the things SAG-AFTRA artists can still do, including appearing on reality shows and game shows. They can also do commercials, video games, talk shows, etc.

I am an influencer. Can I promote movies and TV shows?

This is where it gets tricky. Most influencers aren’t unionized and aren’t subject to any strike rules. But some of them work under the SAG-AFTRA Influencer Agreement, or may want to one day. And these influencers have been instructed not to promote smitten work (i.e. movies and TV shows), either for pay or “organically”. However, if an influencer already has a contract to promote something, the syndicate advises them to fulfill the obligations of the contract. They are also free to influence on any other subject.

Can I cosplay?

If you’re not into SAG-AFTRA, go for it (subject to the above exception for future union influencers). If you’re in SAG-AFTRA, look in a mirror and ask yourself: Am I promoting strike labor? So no.

I am an independent producer. Can I obtain an exemption to continue to carry out my project?

Yes. SAG-AFTRA calls this an “Interim Agreement” and you would agree to adhere to the final terms of any agreement AMPTP enters into with the union. You also have to be truly independent of AMPTP companies.

What happens if I break the strike rules?

If you accidentally do this, someone will probably tap you on the shoulder and remind you not to do this again. But the union absolutely has the power to enforce its strike rules. Sanctions may include “censure, reprimand, fine, suspension and/or expulsion”. If you are not a member and perform strike work, you will be prohibited from joining the union in the future.

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