Question: Nearly everyone at the Emmys was wearing a yellow ribbon with some sort of pin. I kept waiting for someone to speak up and mention what they were for, but no one did. Do you know what they were for? Thanks! Michelle
Televisionary: The gold ribbons most stressed they were gold since yellow reminds too many people of that old Tony Orlando song, I guess were worn by a large number of attending actors and actresses to show support for striking members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) unions. In what's become Hollywood's longest strike ever — it began May 1 commercial actors who belong to the unions are walking the picket line over residuals paid by the advertising industry.
Essentially, every time you see a commercial on a broadcast network, the talent appearing in it get paid a certain amount. Advertisers want to roll back the residuals and pay talent only a flat rate for their work, while the talent believes an industry living large due to a strong economy can afford to keep sharing the wealth. (Okay, so I guess I'm being a little too obvious as to which side I stand on.)
Anyway, many of the big stars you saw don't need to worry about ad residuals to put food on the table, but most of them remember the days when they did. "I survived for many years off commercials," Once and Again star Sela Ward said backstage in the press tent, adding that she'd like to see an end to the strike so she can get back to shooting Sprint ads. Others were a little more opinionated. "All of the athletes and politicians who do commercials, who are scabs and cross the line, should be kicked in their respective you-know-whats," said actor Charles Dutton, who was honored for HBO's The Corner.
Those actors are concerned for their brethren earning food money from ads, but they've got some things at stake, too. Next year, actors' and writers' contracts with the studios and producers expire, and many fear a strike over those same residual issues. If that happens, some think all of Hollywood TV and film could effectively shut down for up to a year (or however long it takes to reach a settlement). That's a lot of money lost for the industry and all the small businesses (caterers, prop houses, car services, etc.) that support it. In short, not a good thing.