Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has shown support for his fellow actors by making a significant financial contribution to a relief fund for actors amid an ongoing strike by them that resulted from talent failing to reach a deal with Hollywood’s biggest studios.
His “seven-figure donation” funding, announced on July 25, is said to be “historic,” and, through the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Emergency Financial Assistance and Disaster Relief Fund, go toward offering emergency assistance to union members during times of a strike or work stoppage. It’s reportedly the “single largest donation” since the foundation was created in 1985, according to CBS News.
The actual sum contributed is unknown, as the foundation doesn’t disclose donor amounts.
The Screen Actors Guild of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is a labor union representing thousands across film, television, radio, news media, streaming, theater, music and digital work.
The Rock, a Man of Hollywood
The Rock is one of the 2,700 highest-earning actors in the industry that SAG-AFTRA president Courtney B. Vance had reached out to for assistance, Variety reported.
“I want to thank Dwayne for his tremendous generosity, compassion, and initiative to step up in this significant and meaningful way for our community. On behalf of the thousands who will be helped by his historic donation, thank you,” Vance said.
The net worth of the former professional wrestler and entrepreneur reportedly is $800 million.
According to Variety, The Rock was paid $22.5 million for his appearance in the 2022 DC film, “Black Adam.”
Hollywood on Strike
SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America strike on July 14, with both unions trying to negotiate with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
After talks to renew its contract with the AMPTP fell through on May 3, the WGA spearheaded the early protests.
In the case of SAF-AFTRA, before talks with the studios began in June, 98 percent of the union’s members decided to authorize a strike. They extended talks for two weeks until July 12 after failing to reach an agreement before the contract’s expiration date of June 30. A federal mediator was then brought in before the extension ended with no new contract, The Los Angeles Times reported.
On July 13, the strike was approved by the SAG-AFTRA board, and on the following day, July 14, actors joined the picket lines.
The strike is related to several issues, such as the need for equal pay between writers working on streaming services and those on traditional TV networks, Deadline reported. Additionally, writers on streaming services want to receive residuals, which are payments made for the airing or streaming of their work. Lastly, writers are asking for new media rights, which would allow them to distribute their work on new platforms like streaming services and video games.
Other sources of contention are payments to the union’s health and pension plan and a wage raise.
The strike has been particularly tough on some actors who, contrary to popular belief, live day to day between Hollywood roles and gigs.
“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. And it’s not lost on me that he’s very humble about this, but it is a way to get us started,” Foundation executive director Cyd Wilson said.
According to Wilson, the foundation has been receiving “five to 10 times [the number of requests for financial aid] that we would normally process in a week and [we] think that is going to continue to increase.”