Stephen Amell says he doesn’t support the SAG-AFTRA strike, then tries to walk back his statement

Miu von Furstenberg 6 Min Read
6 Min Read
Stephen Amell 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour - Day 13
Stephen Amell attends 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour - Day 13 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 04, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Stephen Amell, the star of Heels and Arrow, hasn't been seen on the picket lines. Why? He doesn’t support the current SAG-AFTRA strike.

During an appearance at the fan convention GalaxyCon in Raleigh, N.C., this past weekend, the actor spoke out against striking while also maintaining that he supported his union.

“I feel like a lot of people in this room aren’t aware of the strike,” Amell said during his panel. “I support my union. I do, and I stand with them. I do not support striking. I don’t. I think that is a reductive negotiating tactic. I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. And I think that the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on that premiered last night [Heels Season 2], I think it’s myopic…”

The Hollywood writers guild the WGA authorized a strike on May 1 after negotiations stalled with the AMPTP, the collective bargaining representative for film and TV studios. SAG-AFTRA followed suit on July 13, after the AMPTP also failed to reach a deal with the actors guild.

After receiving a TON of blowback, he issued a statement on Instagram trying to clarify what he had meant. Amell sought to clarify statements he’d made at the GalaxyCon fan convention in Raleigh, N.C., on July 30. In his caption, which you can read in full below, the actor broke down each sentence he’d spoken on stage, followed by an explanation of his intended meaning.

Stephen Amell Special Screening For The CW's "Arrow" And "The Flash"
Stephen Amell arrives at a special screening for the CW's “Arrow” And “The Flash” at Crest Theatre on November 22, 2014 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Getty Images)

“Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to the comments I made this weekend about our strike. To ensure there is no misunderstanding about my thoughts and intentions I’m providing what I actually said and clarity/context to ensure my feelings aren’t unintentionally misinterpreted. We all know soundbites can be taken out of context and I have too much respect for my fellow union members to not clarify the record.”

What I actually said:
1 “I support my union, I do, and I stand with them.”This doesn’t need much clarity: My support is unconditional and I stand with them.

What I actually said:
2 “I do not support striking, I don’t.”
What this means in full context: I understand fundamentally why we’re here. My off the cuff use of the word “support” is clearly contradictory to my true feelings and my emphatic statement that I stand with my union. Of course I don’t like striking. Nobody does. But we have to do what we have to do.

What I said
3 “I think that it is a reductive negotiating tactic and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating.”
In full context: I’m an actor and I was speaking extemporaneously for over an hour. I emote, but I certainly don’t think these issues are simple. Our leadership has an incredibly complicated job and I am grateful for all that they do. Despite some of my terrible early acting work, I assure you, I’m not a robot. From an intellectual perspective, I understand why we are striking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t emotionally frustrating on many levels for all involved.

Stephen Amell 'Arrow' Photocall At The 53rd Monte Carlo TV Festival
Stephen Amell on June 12, 2013 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Getty Images)

What I said
4 “I think that thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I am on that that premiered last night, I think it is myopic”
What I meant: Nothing about the strike is funny but if I may self deprecate for a moment. I have no clue what I was trying to say here and who says, “I think that thinking…?” Perhaps it was an inarticulate shoutout to our crew and cast, who mean the world to me. I’m simply sad that we don’t have a chance to celebrate a show that all of us figuratively and I literally, broke my back for.

As I said from the jump, I want to ensure that my thoughts and intentions are not misconstrued. This situation reminds of the proverb, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” which apparently, after reading a limited amount of the commentary, is a place many of you would like me to visit. However, at least for the foreseeable future, I choose to stand with my union. When you see me on a picket line please don’t whip any hard fruit.


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