“I do not support striking, I don’t,” said actor Stephen Amell at the GalaxyCon fan convention this weekend. “I think it is a reductive negotiating tactic, and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating.”
Noting that he supported the actors’ union in general, he described the strike as a “myopic” tactic “as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on.”
SAG-AFTRA strike rules prevent actors from promoting struck work, which covers the vast majority of American film and TV. However, Amell allegedly broke this rule by continuing to promote his current show, the wrestling drama Heels.
Best known for starring in the eight-season DC superhero series Arrow, Amell is the most prominent TV actor to speak out against the strike. With 98% of SAG voters supporting strike action, he’s definitely in the minority.
He’s also earning criticism on social media, thanks to the widespread public support for the strikers’ quest for fair pay.
“You dont support unions even existing if u dont support striking,” tweeted Sorry to Bother You director Boots Riley. Explaining that strikes are the key purpose of a union, he added that Amell should just be honest and say “fuck everybody in the unions, I got mine.”
Arrowverse actors call out Stephen Amell
Even some of Amell’s former Arrowverse co-stars chimed in. Matt Letscher, who played Reverse-Flash in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, tweeted, “Still waiting on that comprehensive list of totally non-reductive negotiating tactics we get to employ now. Thank god for superheroes! Any second now….”
And Kirk Acevedo simply tweeted, “This fucking guy.” Acevedo played The Dragon (a lead supervillain) opposite Amell in two seasons of Arrow.
Considering how many actors and behind-the-scenes TV workers support the strike, things could get pretty awkward for Stephen Amell when he returns to work.
Stephen Amell’s response to the controversy
Amell responded to the backlash to his comments in a social media post on Tuesday. “Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to the comments I made this weekend about our strike,” he wrote in the caption of an Instagram post. “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.”
He went on to say that he supports the union. “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,” he added.