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Netflix sets up $100-million coronavirus relief fund for Hollywood workers

Netflix’s Ted Sarandos announced a COVID-19 relief fund for workers in TV and film
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos announced a COVID-19 relief fund for workers in TV and film.
(Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

While the world turns to Netflix for entertainment during the coronavirus crisis, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming giant is lending a hand to workers who’ve lost their jobs from production cancellations.

The company said it was creating a $100-million fund to provide emergency support to workers on its productions, including electricians, carpenters and drivers, said Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, in a blog post Friday.

With almost all television and film production now shuttered globally, hundreds of thousands of crew and cast are without jobs, he said.

Some $15 million of the fund will be directed toward helping the broader television and film industry via third parties and nonprofit agencies providing emergency relief to out-of-work cast and crew in the countries where Netflix has a large production base.

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“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” Sarandos said in the statement. “We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks’ pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.”

As the coronavirus has spread worldwide, productions have been forced to close and more than 100,000 workers across the entertainment industry are estimated to have lost work.

“This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide,” Sarandos said.

Netflix said it would donate $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the U.S., and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In Europe, Latin America and Asia, where Netflix has a big production presence, the company said it is working with existing industry organizations to create similar community emergency relief efforts.

A group of unions in media, arts and entertainment called on the federal government Friday to help workers in the industry, many of whom are paid from job to job and have no access to state unemployment relief.

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“Overnight, production and performances industry-wide shut down indefinitely, leaving most entertainment and media workers without a source of income to cover essential expenses,” said the Department for Professional Employees, AFL-CIO, in a statement Friday. “Workers who are left without a paycheck and may not qualify for unemployment have no recourse unless Congress acts now.”

AFL-CIO (DPE) is a coalition of 24 unions representing more than 4 million professional and technical union members.

Groups including the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the founders of the #PayUpHollywood movement have launched relief funds to help assistants and other workers.

Several prominent writers, Hollywood producers and others donated more than $300,000 online for assistants facing loss of work.

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents more than 150,000 entertainment industry workers, on Tuesday said it committed $2.5 million in donations to three charities: the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund of Canada.


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