David Zaslav had a weird Sunday. The CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery gave a commencement speech at Boston University, but it was memorable for all the wrong reasons.
As he contemplated his career, members of the audience shouted “Shut up Zaslav” and “We don’t want you here.”
The problem: His speech came during an ongoing strike by Hollywood writers, who want better pay, new contracts for the streaming age and protections against artificial intelligence-generated content. “Pay your writers!” Another chant had guided his way.
“Members of the Writers Guild are on strike because companies including Warner Bros. Discovery refused to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, attempted to bring in late-night writers at a day rate, screenwriters Prohibited free work on script revisions, and the Guild later said in a statement, “All writers refused to discuss our offer at an existential threat.” hollywood reporter,
Actor Sean Penn supported the writers this week, saying: “So many new concepts are being thrown around, including the use of AI, it strikes me as a human vulgarity as the producers push on it.” ”
“Some people will be looking for a fight,” Zaslav told the students, to boos and cheers. “But don’t be the one they find it with. Focus on the qualities of good people. In my career, I’ve seen many talented people lose out on opportunities or jobs because they didn’t get along with others. You can’t choose the people you work with. Find what you love about a person—there’s always something else—and do whatever it takes to meet their challenges. are near
Some students laughed at this sentiment. Vanessa Bartlett, a graduating senior who helped lead a Writers’ Strike solidarity event at the university, told hollywood reporter: “I’m in the same college as a bunch of kids from film and TV. I’m friends with a lot of people at the College of Fine Arts who are in the theater arts program, so that sense of togetherness is very important to me.
Zaslav teased audience members when he spoke of his financial success as a lawyer: “I was making good money, I felt really great.” It started booing and moaning.
Zaslav later said in a statement: “I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be a part of today’s commencement and giving me an honorary degree, and, as I have often said, I I highly support the authors.And hope that the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognizes their worth.