‘Drew Barrymore Show’ Audience Members Say They Were Kicked Out for Writers Guild Support Amid Picket
Writers Guild of America members and scribes for the Drew Barrymore show picketed outside CBS Studios Monday in New York as the talk show resumed filming amid the writers and actors strikes.
Two audience members, who had signed up for free tickets to the taping, were handed WGA pins by picketers as they walked in the door and say they were asked to leave before the show began because they were wearing the pins.
Dominic Turiczek and Cassidy Carter, two New York City-based students, planned to attend the show, after signing up free tickets about a week and a half ago, not aware that the strike was going on. As they walked into the building Monday, both were handed buttons from picketers that read “Writers Guild on Strike.” The two say they were asked to take off the buttons at security, to which Carter complied. Turiczek was still wearing his button as they entered the studio space. He said a crewmember spotted the button and asked them both to leave.
“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings. Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets,” a spokesperson for The Drew Barrymore Show wrote in a statement to THR.
The two later joined the picket lines outside, donning WGA shirts, as Turiczek said, “If they think we’re part of the strike, we might as well be.” Carter added that she had signed up for tickets as a fan of Barrymore but now has been “disheartened” by the experience.
“It really has changed my perspective on her and the show in general,” Carter said. “I’ve been completely alarmed and disheartened by this whole process.”
Barrymore announced her decision Sunday to resume filming the show, saying that the talk show would not use WGA writers and would otherwise be complying with WGA and SAG-AFTRA rules. “The Drew Barrymore Show is produced under the Network Television Code which is a separate contract and is not struck. It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules,” a SAG-AFTRA rep stated.
The show has returned without its writers and WGA said it will be picketing outside the show this week, since it is still a struck show.
Monday’s scheduled show was a repeat taping, which included Brooke Shields speaking about a documentary not covered under WGA and the documentary’s executive producer, Ali Wentworth. Jordan Fisher, who was in the cast of the Broadway musical Sweeney Todd at the time, spoke about his time on the musical.
The three WGA writers, who are all co-head writers on the show, were in attendance at the picket line and said they found out that the show, which has been on hiatus since April, would resume via audience ticket giveaways that were posted on social media.
Chelsea White, one of the Drew Barrymore Show writers, was picketing outside the studio on West 57th Street, and said she was surprised and disappointed that the show had resumed.
“I think in general, this is obviously bigger than us three writers on The Drew Barrymore Show. It is a bummer to hear that the show is going back because it sends a message that union writers are not valuable. And it goes directly against what the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, all the unions are trying to band together to stand up against the greedy studios,” White said.
White said after The Drew Barrymore Show posted about starting to tape season four, she began receiving texts from friends asking whether this was good or bad news.
“We figured that we would’ve heard something if it was an interim agreement. I think a lot of people in the public figured that that’s probably what the case was,” White said. “But since the three of us had not heard anything, we were pretty sure that something was up.”
White said she has not heard from anyone on the show since the announcement that it would resume filming. Liz Koe, another writer on the show, said she saw co-workers go into the building Monday and that there’s mutual support between the co-workers and the writers, adding, “it’s not just three people’s jobs, it’s everybody’s jobs.
“I think it’s such a complicated issue. I think that Drew cares about the show. She cares about the crew, she cares about us. She cares about everything and I think she made the best decision that she could, given all those things. And I feel like coming out here today is not a personal thing at all, it’s really the opposite, it’s a collective thing,” Koe said, adding that it’s the overall fight for a more fair contract.
“I’m disappointed, but I understand that everybody has to do what they feel is best for them,” said writer Cristina Kinon. “For me and the WGA writers on the show, it’s important for us to stick with our union. We deserve a fair contract, so we are here today outside.”
The three Drew writers arrived early Monday and provided coffee for the other WGA picketers who showed up in support.
As for whether the three writers will return to the show once the strike is resolved, they say the issue is complicated, adding that they do not know whether there will still be WGA jobs.
“In April, when we went on hiatus, which was a couple weeks before the strike, at that time it was the idea to return to the show and that was the last conversation that we had with anyone at the show,” White said.
As for how she feels about it now, she added: “Maybe no comment.”
Sept. 11, 10 a.m. PST This story originally included the names of guests who were listed on The Drew Barrymore Show’s website as appearing on Sept. 11. A CBS rep says those guests are from a repeat show airing today.