Strike Reality: Emmy-Nominated Actor Young Mazino Shares his Support for SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strike

SAG-AFTRA and WGA Members and Supporters Unite in Strike for Fair Compensation

Los Angeles, CA – In a surprising turn of events, actor Young Mazino finds himself nominated for his first Emmy one day and joining his union on strike the next. Mazino earned a supporting actor Emmy nomination for his work in Netflix’s “Beef,” but now he is on the picket line, expressing his support for the ongoing strike led by SAG-AFTRA against Hollywood studios and production companies. The strike began on July 13, just one day after the Emmy nominations were announced.

“It’s a strange feeling to be nominated for an Emmy one day and then be on strike the next day,” Mazino shared with Variety. “But honestly, I think the strike feels more important because it addresses a larger issue. I was lucky to get my role in ‘Beef’ before this happened, but there are so many people in our industry who rely on things like residuals.”

Mazino’s sentiments are echoed by other actors, including Maria Bello, who emphasized the significance of residuals in an industry where consistent income can be hard to come by. As streaming platforms have gained popularity, actors have seen their residual fees decrease. Additionally, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) poses a major concern for the future of actors, especially background players and extras.

Contract negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) broke down, leading to heightened concerns among union members. The AMPTP’s AI proposal, as released by SAG-AFTRA, has raised alarms, with actors interpreting it as a request for perpetual usage of their likeness in exchange for a one-time fee. The AMPTP, however, disputes this interpretation. Despite the ongoing strike by showbiz writers since May 2, the issue of AI has energized both actors and writers.

AI’s potential impact on their careers has prompted actors like Maria Bello and Young Mazino to stand in solidarity with background actors. Bello explained, “With AI right now, it’s very, very complicated. Certain background actors would be out of work if their likeness is used indefinitely. Mazino and I are fortunate to be working actors, but we are here in solidarity with the others.”

Mazino is keenly aware of the threat AI poses to his own future in the industry. “We are creating art. They can try to use AI and see what happens, but the writing has been on the wall. If they don’t recognize it, we will continue to fight.”

The ongoing strike and concerns surrounding AI usage have brought to light the larger issue of fair compensation and protection for all members of the entertainment industry. As negotiations continue, industry professionals are hopeful that a resolution will be reached to address the concerns raised by the strike and pave the way for a more equitable future.

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.