Warner Bros boss David Zaslav forced to pause Boston University graduation speech due to booing
Warner Bros CEO David Zaslav was booed by students supporting the Hollywood writers’ strikes while attempting to deliver a university graduation speech.
Zaslav, 63, was giving a commencement speech at Boston University when he was interupted by chants of “pay your writers” coming from the crowd.
At one point, the chanting became so loud that Zaslav had to pause his speech.
Last month, the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) began an industry-wide strike, amid an unresolved contract dispute with studios.
Among the key issues motivating the industrial action are the residual pay from streaming services, and the controversial use of AI (artificial technology) in the writing process – a practice that many writers are strongly against.
In a statement after the event, Zaslav said: “I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be part of today’s commencement and for giving me an honorary degree, and, as I have often said, I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognises their value.”
Other photographs shared on social media showed WGA writers and other union members picketing outside of the university.
Chants of “pay your writers!” during David Zaslav’s BU commencement speech: pic.twitter.com/x65XwmIxgD
— Tyler Ruggeri (@t_ruggeri) May 21, 2023
Zaslav was chosen to appear at the commencement event, having been a graduate of Boston University’s law school in the mid-1980s.
The writers’ strike is the first of its kind in more than 15 years, and has already caused production delays to a number of high-profile film and TV projects, including Stranger Things and forthcoming Marvel movies.
For a fuller breakdown of the ongoing writers’ strike, including why WGA members are striking and what happened during the previous WGA strike in 2007, click here.