Something for the weekend: Hollywood actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have offered to pay the salaries of staff at American talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live for two weeks.
Show host Jimmy Kimmel revealed the kind offer in this week’s debut episode of Spotify podcast Strike Force Five, which he runs with fellow late night talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver. All of the podcast’s proceeds will go to the employees who work on their shows and have been out of work due to the ongoing Writers Guild Of America (WGA) strike.
Kimmel said: “Ben Affleck and Matt Damon contacted me and offered to pay our staff for two weeks. A week each. They wanted to pay [our staff] out of their own pockets. I did say no, but I felt that it was not their responsibility to take care [of this].”
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Meyers asked: “Could it be transferable?” While Colbert joked: “Could you just say yes and give your money to us?”
The generosity was not limited to Damon and Affleck, as Kimmel also shared that fellow actor Ryan Reynolds offered free Mint Mobile service for a year to out-of-work show staff. Mint Mobile co-sponsors the Strike Force Five podcast.
The WGA, which represents 11,500 screenwriters, began strike action in May over a labour dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Members claim that their share of residuals is much lower than it was a decade ago, and they want to ensure that artificial intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT, is not used to replace them.
Meanwhile, members of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists began strike action in July in a row over economic fairness, residuals, AI usage and the industry-wide shift to self-taping.
This sounds like a very generous offer to us at Employee Benefits!