Hollywood’s Fierce Backlash: Bill Maher Retreats on Strike Stance


Bill Maher Faces Backlash Over Strike Stance: Hollywood Reacts

Bill Maher, the renowned talk show host, has recently found himself at the center of controversy due to his stance on the ongoing writers’ strike. After initially returning to work and abstaining from participating in the strike, Maher has now decided to delay the start of “Real Time with Bill Maher” following the Writers Guild of America’s announcement of recommenced negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Bill Maher in 2017. The talk show host was called a “scab” by actor John Cusack on social media.

The majority of talk shows in the United States, including Maher’s, have been on hold since the strike began in May. Maher justified his decision to return to work initially due to the perceived lack of progress in negotiations. However, with both sides agreeing to resume talks, Maher has chosen to postpone the return of his show, hoping for a resolution to be reached.

Reversal Sparks Criticism

Maher’s initial decision to resume production during the strike drew condemnation from industry professionals and famous faces alike. TV writer and producer David Simon expressed his dismay at Maher’s attempt to “both-side” the issue and urged him not to cross the picket line. Actor John Cusack called Maher a liar and speculated that he changed his stance due to the blowback he received.

Social Media Backlash

Maher faced criticism on social media platforms as well. Everlast Talkbox podcaster Michael Woods accused Maher of backtracking in response to negative feedback. Modern Family producer Danny Zuker questioned whether Maher’s likeability had been damaged by this episode. Screenwriter Anka Radakovich, who had previously appeared on Maher’s show, highlighted his condescending behavior and emphasized that she had lost respect for him.

The Strike and Demands

The Writers Guild of America initiated the strike in May after failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Representing over 11,000 writers across film, TV, radio, and online media, the WGA demanded increased pay to match the rising profits of studios. The organization pointed to the streaming boom, leading to record profits for providers ranging from $5 billion annually in 2000 to $28-$30 billion between 2017 and 2021. In addition, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) joined the strike in July.

Other Celebrity Controversies During the Strike

Maher is not the only celebrity to face backlash for their actions during the writers’ strike. Drew Barrymore received criticism after announcing the return of “The Drew Barrymore Show” despite her writing staff participating in the strike. Similarly, Ken Jennings faced backlash for continuing to host “Jeopardy!” without writers. Both celebrities ultimately reversed their decisions due to the backlash received.

Ultimately, the industry awaits a resolution and hopes for an end to the strike soon. Bill Maher’s decision to delay the return of “Real Time” reflects the changing dynamics of the negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Newsweek has reached out to Bill Maher for comment via email.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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