As Hollywood’s dual strikes stretch into the late days of summer, Greg Berlanti is stepping up to offer financial relief to support staff and below-the-line workers.
Berlanti, who long held the title as Hollywood’s most prolific TV series producer through his Greg Berlanti Prods., is committing $500,000 for a strike relief fund that will benefit those who have worked on his company’s projects. Separately, he is doubling down on $150,000 donations to the Entertainment Community Fund and the Motion Picture & Television Fund, “two amazing organizations I am incredibly proud to be associated with and that represent the best qualities of our business.”
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As part of the gift to those organizations, Berlanti has requested the money “be earmarked for support staff and below-the-line workers” as he also issues a call to action to those fortunate enough to give what they can to support the ECF and MPTF.
Berlanti offered details of his new financial commitments in a letter sent to staffers and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. He begins by acknowledging a bit of déjà vu because he sent a similar letter during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time that saw Berlanti offer $1 million to those who were out of work due to production shutdowns at that time.
“I never thought that within three years I would have to write a note of a similar nature, but as the WGA strike stretches into the fourth month, and with SAG joining the picket lines in July, once again I wanted to reach out and offer as much immediate help as we can,” writes Berlanti. “As I said during the pandemic, I realize not knowing when your job might return creates a significant financial and emotional hardship for many. Also, I know many of our coworkers have barely caught their financial breath since that time. It is very important to me, and everyone at Berlanti Productions, that we are doing all that we can to help you during this moment.”
News of Berlanti’s donations comes on the heels of a similar $500,000 strike relief fund created by Ryan Murphy to support those who have worked on his company’s shows. And it comes during a week that saw reports surface that Berlanti’s overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group has been suspended amid the ongoing strikes. Among those in the same boat as Berlanti are J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Chuck Lorre, Bill Lawrence, John Wells and Mindy Kaling.
See Berlanti’s full letter below.
“Dear Fellow Co-Workers,
I hope wherever you are, you and your family or loved ones are safe and healthy. Obviously, we are living in an unprecedented moment in modern history. The COVID-19 pandemic is devastating lives, nations and businesses around the world, including our own.”
That’s how I started my last email of this kind, three years ago in the heart of the pandemic, to let everyone know what our company was doing to try and help people. I never thought that within three years I would have to write a note of a similar nature, but as the WGA strike stretches into the fourth month, and with SAG joining the picket lines in July, once again I wanted to reach out and offer as much immediate help as we can.
As I said during the pandemic, I realize not knowing when your job might return creates a significant financial and emotional hardship for many. Also, I know many of our coworkers have barely caught their financial breath since that time. It is very important to me, and everyone at Berlanti Productions, that we are doing all that we can to help you during this moment. Early in the strike, like many others in my position, I donated to the Entertainment Community Fund. I will be making additional donations of 150,000 to that fund and the same amount to the Motion Picture & Television Fund — two amazing organizations I am incredibly proud to be associated with and that represent the best qualities of our business. I will be asking for that money to be earmarked for support staff and below-the-line workers. I implore other industry workers in a fortunate enough situation to give what they can to these organizations today.
In addition, for the support staff and below-the-line workers of our own shows, we are starting a strike relief fund of an additional 500,000 dollars. If you are receiving this email it means you have worked on one of our shows in the last few years in that capacity. If you have worked on one of our shows and haven’t received this email for some reason, and have heard about this elsewhere, that’s okay too.
Either way: if you are in need, please email my associate Carl Ogawa at Strikerelief@berlantiproductions.com, and let him know the show you work(ed) on, what your position was and the best number to reach you at. He will coordinate the rest with you directly. As during the pandemic, we will not share your personal circumstance or request with anyone. Please note, there is about a ten-day turnaround time for funds to get to you. Also, we will be doing our best to spread these funds amongst as many people as possible, so they will be in denominations of 500 to 1500 dollars.
I am a proud member of the WGA and I support a fair deal that continues to provide sustainable lifelong careers for all of the incredible talent just entering this business. I also know how vulnerable so many are right now, and I want to make sure we are doing all we can to help others while both these strikes continue. If you have any other ideas of how we can help or be of service to you or those in our production families that are most vulnerable during this time, please let us know and we will do our best. Until then, know that we are very much looking forward to that time when we are all working together again.
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