Actor Billy Porter said he is being forced to put his home on the market due to financial struggles stemming from the Hollywood strikes.
“I have to sell my house because we’re on strike,” Porter said in an interview with the Evening Standard published last week. “And I don’t know when we’re gonna go back [to work].”
The star of “Pose” and “Cinderella” said most people misunderstand actors’ wealth, assuming they have enough money to survive this strike without major lifestyle changes. He says he has “already been starved out.”
“The life of an artist, until you make f***-you money — which I haven’t made yet — is still check-to-check,” Porter said. “I was supposed to be in a new movie, and on a new television show starting in September. None of that is happening.”
Porter pointed to an issue that has been front and center for striking members of both the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild of America: that the pay they rely on from residuals has dropped dramatically due to streaming.
“There’s no contract for it… And they don’t have to be transparent with the numbers — it’s not Nielsen ratings anymore, the streaming companies are notoriously opaque with their viewership figures,” he said.
“The business has evolved. So the contract has to evolve and change,” the artist added.
SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher told “CBS Mornings in July that most members “don’t even meet the threshold to get health insurance, which is $26,000 a year, and in most jobs that would be considered a part-time job.”
While on strike, Porter has been across the pond in England, recording an album called “The Black Mona Lisa.”
Hollywood writers have been on strike since early May, and they were joined on the picket lines by Hollywood actors in mid-July after the two groups each failed to reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group which represents all major Hollywood studios. It marks the first time since 1960 that both groups have been on strike simultaneously.
Paramount Pictures, one of the studios involved in the negotiations, and CBS News are both part of Paramount Global. Some CBS News staff are SAG-AFTRA or Writers Guild members, but their contracts are not affected by the strikes.