The GLEE Cast and Creative Team Reunite to Support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes: 'We're At a Turning Point in Our Industry' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

The GLEE Cast and Creative Team Reunite to Support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes: ‘We’re At a Turning Point in Our Industry’

August 23, 2023 by  

Glee reunion

The GLEE cast and creative team. (Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote.)

The GLEE cast and creative team reunited on Wednesday, August 23 to show their support for the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. And while a number of the key players have regularly picketing, the official reunion stemmed from an unexpected source: Aspiring actress Aly Fabrizio.

“I’m just a really big fan of GLEE,” Fabrizio tells Give Me My Remote. “The show made me want to be an actor.”

Glee reunion

(Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote)

After filling out a form to host a themed WGA picket at Warner Bros, the ball started rolling. The day included multiple food trucks (including one sponsored by GLEE vet Jane Lynch), as well as show-appropriate grilled cheese, slushies, and cupcakes made by Fabrizio. “My heart’s still racing a little bit,” Fabrizio says. “Seeing them all back together makes me want to cry, in a good way. Knowing I organized it makes me really happy.”

Former GLEE star Darren Criss was picketing at the WB lot earlier in the week when “somebody, in passing, mentioned to me that there was going to be a GLEE day,” he shares. “And so I said, ‘F— yeah, I’ll be there. Wouldn’t miss it.’”

Criss joined co-creator Brad Falchuk, as well as a gaggle of stars including Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Heather Morris, Iqbal Theba, Max Adler, Becca Tobin, Jacob Artist, Dot-Marie Jones, Vanessa Lengies, Patrick Gallagher, and Josh Sussman on the picket line, snapping selfies with each other and fans, and having some fun with the GLEE-themed picket line karaoke. (Gallagher sang “Sweet Caroline,” tweaking the words to reflect the ongoing strike—and joking there’s a reason he didn’t sing on the Fox series.)

“Obviously, the union is very united,” Falchuk says. “It’s nice to be here with everybody—everybody, from day one, has felt the same way, [and will be united] for as many days as it takes.”

“We had a gigantic crew, cast, everything coming together to make GLEE happen,” McHale notes in the video below. “And without that small army coming to work every single day, 16 hours a day, for seven years, we wouldn’t have a show that was loved and seen around the world. And for us to be able to come here today, support our unions, support our writers—our gigantic writers’ rooms—we’d have nothing to say without them. There’s nothing to watch without the actors and everybody here today. Whatever excuses that bring everyone together—and there’s a lot of us; basically just the GLEE cast and crew, we fill up the entire picket line.”

“I just love being with a bunch of like-minded people that are all here for the same cause supporting one another,” Adler adds. “It’s a great community and we’re all fighting on behalf of what we believe is right. It’s a pretty amazing, inspiring, movement and moment.”

Though the reunion was joyful, everyone was aware of how important the fight actually was. “We’re here to fight for fairness across the board: fair wages, fair treatment for everybody,” Ushkowitz says. “And to stand in solidarity with the writers right now, too. It just feels like we’re at a turning point in our industry and it’s the most important thing right now for generations to come.”

“There is an unfortunate disparity in wealth that needs to be sorted for future generations,” adds Criss. “We’re not just looking out for us, we’re looking out for the ones that come after us and our families. And [we’re fighting for] the people before us who wished they could have organized and galvanized each other, to put systems in place to protect the work.” 

Glee reunion

GLEE reunion organizer Aly Fabrizio alongside the slushies and grilled cheese sandwiches. (Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote.)

For Fabrizio, who is pre-SAG, the fight is personal.  “I hope to join SAG in the future,” she says. “Obviously, small actors like myself who haven’t even started yet, we deserve to be treated as fairly as anyone else who started back in 2006. The less you’re paid, the less you’re going to want to do it; it’s a dream-crusher, especially if you’re passionate about [acting]. Not being able to have the funds to do acting lessons to get further in your career or just travel for roles and stuff like that. It’s pretty hard when you’re not even getting paid for roles that you’ve done in the past.”

While the superstars and even big stars in the guild are known by the general public, the actors are also fighting for the less-known performers in their union. “It’s also [important to have] fair treatment, regardless if you’re number one a call sheet or background actor—that everybody is treated fairly, equitably,” McHale says. “And [everyone is] given the rights and respect, because people do this as a living. Just because you don’t know their name doesn’t mean that they can’t make a living out of this. And there are a lot of people who strive to do this and do do this. And I think through this process, the public has seen how terribly, honestly, a lot of the time different sectors of the community are treated.”

“Working actors still can’t make [their] health insurance [minimums],” adds Ushkowitz. “They still can’t give up their side gigs in order to do the job that we are paid to do, and that is unfair.”

As the strikes continue—it’s day 114 for the WGA, day 41 for SAG-AFTRA—the stars encourage fans to come out to picket lines and also read up on what’s going on.

“Being an informed citizen/viewer so you know what goes into the things that you love,” McHale says. “When there are reports coming out, [know] who to listen to, what’s true, what’s not—and listen to the people who are on the ground here every single day.”

“For the writers’ strike in 2007…we didn’t have social media, and there was this sort of this, ‘Oh, it’s happening over there’-ness to it,” Criss adds. “What is convenient about this go-round with the strike is that it’s very public and in the faces of—and hands of—people who aren’t part of the union, who are on the outside looking in, and understanding the inner wiring of it a lot better.” 

“So I would encourage anybody who is a fan of this show to show their support on social media, perhaps to educate themselves on what this is and what labor disputes are, in general,” he continues. “This is a labor dispute, much like any union going on strike. It’s a very measured course of action to accomplish a goal. And I think educating yourself to understand what we’re trying to do here, especially if you’re a young fan, so that moving on in any business, whether it be the entertainment business, whether you’re an actual writer or even a producer in the future, you’re understanding what the grievances are.”


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