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Influencers’ Biggest Collab? The SAG-AFTRA Strike

Photo: Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hollywood red-carpet premieres just aren’t looking the same these days since SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA in a strike against the AMPTP. This means no A-listers and their silly sound bites and no “influencer walks” at the beginning. And if you haven’t considered the role of influencers in the SAG-AFTRA strike, you’re forgetting about the biggest collab in Hollywood. While most influencers aren’t involved in the acting part of SAG, they do have an option to join the union through its Influencer Agreement. Even if an influencer doesn’t want to be a contender for the next SNL cast member, many do interact with studios on film promotions, like for Hot Ones episodes, or reactions to entire TV series as they come out. But what separates an ally from a scab when the rules are as messy as disclosing sponsorships in 2015?

Can influencers be in SAG-AFTRA?

Yes! If they perform alone (no duos or groups, and they must solely produce the content themselves), are incorporated, own their intellectual property, and have direct relationships with the brand they work with. While they have the same protections (and rules) that actors in SAG do, they operate more like an ad agency, creating their own advertisements for the studios — well, as long as they properly disclose that they’re ads.

Okay, but can influencers collab with movie and TV studios?

Not unless you want more apology videos. Influencers under SAG (and those with Hollywood dreams to one day join SAG as an actor) cannot work with struck companies by creating sponsored posts or attending premieres during the strike. They are allowed to fulfill any contractual obligations made before the strike but are barred from making any new ones.

Does everyone understand the rules?

Sort of. It has been muddy waters for some influencers. TikToker Straw Hat Goofy (real name Juju Green) was living up to his user name by making a jokeless sketch with traveling-salesman energy because he assumed the strike wouldn’t affect his ability to attend premieres and promote films. Others felt he was basically making an advertisement for studios to hire him to promote movies and spreading misinformation to others who might unintentionally scab if they followed his guidelines. WGA writer, SAG actress, and content creator Franchesca Ramsey responded to Green by explaining that a scab is someone who is typically not in the striking union but still takes work from the struck entities, like Hollywood studios, thereby replacing the workers on strike even if they’re not taking acting gigs. Green later did what influencers do best: releasing an apology video for his “tone-deaf” skit, explaining he had previous contracts with studios and content that had been filmed months in advance that would eventually be released. He also stated he has no interest in joining either union despite doing a voice cameo for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.

Influencers’ Biggest Collab? The SAG-AFTRA Strike