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Editor’s note: This story was published prior to the decision to cancel the live awards show and air a pre-taped ceremony instead.
In a development that will surely cause chaos before the ceremony, the Writers Guild of America is planning on picketing Sunday’s MTV Movie & TV Awards.
The Hollywood writers union announced its intentions to demonstrate at the Sunday ceremony at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar on Friday afternoon as part of its ongoing strike against Hollywood studios and streamers. (MTV is part of Paramount Global.) The protest is clearly a targeted move, since the guild’s strike schedule is primarily Monday through Friday at production locations including studio lots and corporate offices like Netflix’s building in Hollywood.
In anticipation of potential labor strife, Drew Barrymore dropped out as the host of the ceremony on Thursday, while presenter and nominee Lala Kent (Vanderpump Rules) became the first member of the show’s talent to cancel her appearance later in the day. Both said they made the decision out of solidarity with the writers, and MTV subsequently planned a ceremony without a host and sans WGA writers. The show is still planning to have a live audience.
As of Friday afternoon, actors including Jamie Lee Curtis, Dave “Lil Dicky” Burd, Halle Bailey, Riley Keough, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anthony Ramos and Tiffany Haddish had not publicly announced that they were canceling their scheduled appearances as presenters. Neither had The White Lotus‘ Jennifer Coolidge, who was set to receive the ceremony’s Comedic Genius Award.
The Hollywood Reporter learned later on Friday that the cast of Joy Ride and Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner, who were previously scheduled to attend as presenters and nominees, respectively, pulled out of the ceremony on Thursday.
It’s unclear whether there will be further talent attrition following the WGA’s decision, as a picket line in Santa Monica could create a sticky situation for members of other unions, such as performers’ guild SAG-AFTRA. SAG-AFTRA has encouraged its members to continue to report to work on any productions that remain ongoing but to join the WGA’s picket line and support it in off-work hours.
The WGA has been on strike since May 2, after negotiations with studios and streamers collapsed the previous night. MTV’s Movie & TV Awards marks the first high-profile awards telecast since the work stoppage began. MTV has a contract with the WGA, and some of its members worked on the show before the strike for MoonMan Productions, the Viacom subsidiary.
May 5, 4:43 p.m. Updated to include details of more talent pulling out of the ceremony.
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