Dwayne Johnson offered his support for the SAG-AFTRA strike with a massive donation for union members who are currently out of work.
The action star, 51, contributed a seven-figure amount to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s relief fund, which can deliver grants of up to $1,500 per member. In other cases where a union member is in serious jeopardy, a lifetime member could receive up to $6,000 in emergency assistance.
The exact amount of Johnson’s donation is confidential, but SAG-AFTRA Foundation president Courtney B. Vance said Johnson’s team reached out after the foundation sent a letter to the union’s highest-earning members outlining the financial problems other members will face during the strike.
“It was a love fest,” Vance, 63, told Variety on Monday, July 24, recalling his phone call with Johnson about the donation. “It’s like, ‘Man, you’re stepping up in a way that is allowing others to know the dire necessity of it.’ This is him saying, ‘In such a time as this, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere, whatever you need me to do.’ And that sends a huge message to other folks to do the same thing.”
The foundation’s executive director, Cyd Wilson, told the outlet that Johnson’s donation is the “largest single donation” the organization has ever received from one person at one time. (The SAG-AFTRA Foundation is a nonprofit that’s affiliated with SAG-AFTRA but is independent from the union.)
“And what is amazing is that that one check is going to help thousands of actors keep food on their table, and keep their kids safe, and keep their cars running,” Wilson told Variety. “And it’s not lost on me that [Dwayne’s] very humble about this, but it is a way to get us started.”
The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has been on strike since July 14 over an ongoing dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The union’s decision to strike came two months after the Writers Guild of America also went on strike over issues including residuals from streaming content and the use of artificial intelligence in scripts.
“This is a very seminal hour for us. I went in thinking that we would be able to avert a strike. The gravity of this move is not lost on me,” SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher said in a press conference on July 13. “It’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands — if not millions — of people all across this country and around the world. Not only members of this union, but people who work in other industries that service the people that work in this industry. … We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.”
The simultaneous strike marks the first time that both the actors and writers unions have been on strike together since 1960. During that strike, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was the president of SAG.
Tons of celebrities have shown their support for both strikes, picketing outside studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Other stars, meanwhile, have been revealing the small amounts they earn in residuals from streaming.
Earlier this month, Mandy Moore explained that residuals could once sustain actors between projects, but that’s increasingly not the case.
“We’re in incredibly fortunate positions as working actors having been on shows that found tremendous success in one way or another … but many actors in our position for years before us were able to live off of residuals or at least pay their bills,” she told The Hollywood Reporter on July 18, adding that she received “very tiny, like, 81-cent checks” for streaming residuals for This Is Us.
Moore, 39, played matriarch Rebecca Pearson on the NBC family drama, which ran from 2016 to 2022. She further addressed the residual issue in an Instagram post after joining the picket line outside Disney earlier this month.
“Ours is a fickle industry and in my 20+ years of being a performer, my career has ebbed and flowed,” Moore wrote. “I’ve had very lean years where I couldn’t get a job and those are precisely the moments when in years past, actors could rely on residuals from their past work to help them get by. The world and business have changed and I’m hoping we can find a meaningful solution moving forward.”