Billy Porter revealed in a recent interview with Evening Standard that he has to sell his house amid the ongoing strikes in Hollywood in order to save money. Porter, an Emmy winner for his work on FX’s “Pose,” was speaking to the outlet to promote his music career and stayed clear of discussing any of his film and television work. When the topic of the strikes was brought up, Porter said he’s having to take cost-saving measures in his real life as various projects he was set to work on in September have been tabled.
“I have to sell my house,” Porter said. “Yeah! Because we’re on strike. And I don’t know when we’re gonna go back [to work]. The life of an artist, until you make fuck-you money — which I haven’t made yet — is still check-to-check. I was supposed to be in a new movie, and on a new television show starting in September. None of that is happening. So to the person who said ‘we’re going to starve them out until they have to sell their apartments,’ you’ve already starved me out.”
Porter was referring to an article published in July by Deadline that cited an anonymous Hollywood executive saying the studios would hold out on meeting with the WGA again until its members went broke. The actor also lambasted Disney CEO Bob Iger for a July 13 interview he gave at the Sun Valley Conference in which he said WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikers were not being “realistic” with their demands.
“In the late Fifties, early Sixties, when they structured a way for artists to be compensated properly through residual [payments], it allowed for the two percent of working actors — and there are 150,000 people in our union — who work consistently…Then streaming came in,” Porter said. “There’s no contract for it…And they don’t have to be transparent with the numbers — it’s not Nielsen ratings anymore. The streaming companies are notoriously opaque with their viewership figures. The business has evolved. So the contract has to evolve and change, period. To hear Bob Iger say that our demands for a living wage are unrealistic? While he makes $78,000 a day?”
“I don’t have any words for it, but: fuck you,” Porter added about Iger. “That’s not useful, so I’ve kept my mouth shut. I haven’t engaged because I’m so enraged. I’m glad I’ve been over here [in England]. But when I go back I will join the picket lines.”
When asked about the strikes in July, Iger responded: “It’s very disturbing to me. We’ve talked about disruptive forces on this business and all the challenges we’re facing, the recovery from COVID which is ongoing, it’s not completely back. This is the worst time in the world to add to that disruption…There’s a level of expectation that [strikers] have, that is just not realistic. And they are adding to the set of the challenges that this business is already facing that is, quite frankly, very disruptive.”
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher also slammed Iger’s comments in an interview with Variety, calling them “terribly repugnant,” “out of touch” and “positively tone deaf.”
“I don’t think it served him well,” Drescher added. “If I were that company, I would lock him behind doors and never let him talk to anybody about this, because it’s so obvious that he has no clue as to what is really happening on the ground with hard working people that don’t make anywhere near the salary he is making. High seven figures, eight figures, this is crazy money that they make, and they don’t care if they’re land barons of a medieval time.”
Head over to Evening Standard’s website to read Porter’s latest profile in its entirety.
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