Netflix Pledges $100 Million in Relief to Out-of-Work Production Community

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Netflix's Ted Sarandos (left) and Reed Hastings

The money will go to those involved in halted Netflix productions as well as "third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief," according to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

With a continued lack of clarity about how the government plans to aid those workers hit hardest by coronavirus-related work stoppages, several institutions are pledging money to help those most affected in Hollywood. Netflix on Friday announced that it has set up a $100 million relief fund for out-of-work production professionals, including the hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs.

In a letter from one of the Hollywood’s most visible creative executives, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos noted the unprecedented effects that the pandemic has had on the community — particularly electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of them paid hourly and project to project.

“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” wrote Sarandos. “We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.”

There have been widespread calls for the government to offer economic support to various businesses, most notably the restaurant and service industries that have been decimated nationwide, sending unemployment skyrocketing, but the entertainment industry standstill has been particularly hard on below-the-line workers, including Hollywood's Teamsters.

Netflix’s relief pledge is not limited to its own productions. “Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry,” Sarandos continued. “So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.”

Pledges to current non-profits aiding workers include $1 million to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the U.S and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes.

Read Sarandos’ full memo, posted to the company blog, below.

The Covid-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally – leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.

This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.

Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.

Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.

In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.

What’s happening is unprecedented. We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.

Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer