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TV mogul Greg Berlanti has committed $1 million as part of a COVID-19 relief effort that will see funds going directly to staffers-in-need as well as industry organizations that have stepped up to help Hollywood workers during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic.
Berlanti announced the donation Wednesday in a letter distributed to employees and production teams across 17 shows, representing a massive roster of 5,000 crew and production staffers. Per the letter, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the first $600,000 will go directly to his team members “most in need,” starting with the series that were shutdown “with production incomplete,” including Batwoman, Doom Patrol, The Flash, Riverdale, The Flight Attendant, Supergirl and Prodigal Son. As more is revealed about the severity and duration the pandemic will have on the industry, the hope, he writes, is to then open the fund to the other Berlanti Prods. shows including All American, Black Lightning, The Girls on the Bus, Katy Keene, Legends of Tomorrow, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Stargirl, Superman & Lois, Titans and You.
An additional $400,000 will be doled out to institutions that offer a range of financial and health care services to crew, actors, unemployed support staff and others in the entertainment industry. Those efforts include the Motion Picture Television Emergency Relief Fund, the SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund and The Actors Fund.
The generous gift from Berlanti, who is based at Warner Bros. TV, follows a fund created at Warner Media last month totaling $100 million to help its crewmembers and shows across the portfolio of films and TV shows affected by shutdowns. Other top Hollywood companies have done the same, including Netflix, which increased its initial $100 million to $150 million and committed, along with prolific creator Ryan Murphy, to help the MPTF.
“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,” Berlanti says in the letter. “I know not knowing when your job might return creates a significant financial and emotional hardship for many. It is very important to me, and everyone at Berlanti Productions, that we are doing all that we can to help you during this time.”
Berlanti, a noted philanthropist who only recently (and reluctantly) stepped into the spotlight to be honored for his work with such organizations as GLAAD, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, went on to encourage employees to reach out directly to his office so funds can be directed to those to most in need right now. In closing, he writes: “Until then, please stay safe and know that we are very much looking forward to and planning for that time when we are all working together again.”
Read Berlanti’s letter in full 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.
All of the shows our company is affiliated with were in various states of production when the pandemic began. We are working with your individual showrunners and the studio so that we can have as many shows back in production as quickly as possible once it is deemed safe to do so. If you have any questions about when that might be, I encourage you to reach out to your show runner or line producer; otherwise, they will be sure to share any information they might have as soon as they have it.
Until that time, I know not knowing when your job might return creates a significant financial and emotional hardship for many. It is very important to me, and everyone at Berlanti Productions, that we are doing all that we can to help you during this time. To that end, in addition to the pay that WarnerMedia generously committed to employees who had work halted, I will also be donating a million dollars to relief efforts.
The first $600,000 will go directly to our fellow co-workers that are most in need. If you are in need of immediate assistance, email my associate [redacted], and let him know the show you work on and the best number to reach you at. He will coordinate the rest with you directly. We will not share your personal circumstance or request with anyone.
Given that we are associated with 17 shows in various stages of production, with over 5,000 crew and production staff members working on them, unfortunately this fund can’t support every single person and we will need to prioritize supporting those most in need. We would like to start by first opening it up to the shows that were shutdown with production incomplete.
Those shows are: ‘Batwoman’; ‘Doom Patrol’; ‘The Flash’; ‘Riverdale’; ‘The Flight Attendant’; ‘Supergirl’; ‘Prodigal Son.’ In a few weeks, as we know more about the length of time production might be delayed for, our hope is to open up the remainder of the fund to the following productions: ‘All American’; ‘Black Lightning’; ‘The Girls On The Bus’; ‘Katy Keene’; ‘Legends of Tomorrow’; ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’; ‘Stargirl’: ‘Superman & Lois’; ‘Titans’; ‘You.’
That being said, if you are in desperate need of immediate assistance right now, please reach out and we will do what we can now to get you help today. An additional $400,000 will be donated across the following institutions that offer a range of financial and healthcare services to crew, actors, unemployed support staff and our other sisters and brothers in the entertainment industry: The Motion Picture Television Emergency Relief Fund, The SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund and The Actors Fund.
If you have any other questions, concerns, or 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, please stay safe and know that we are very much looking forward to and planning for that time when we are all working together again.
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