Warner Bros Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav was booed by students after taking the stage at Boston University to accept his honorary degree and give the 2023 commencement speech, amid an ongoing strike by film and television writers over pay, videos that surfaced on social media show.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the incident on Sunday (May 21). Boston University did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Thousands of members of the Writers Guild of America went on strike on earlier in May after the union failed to reach a deal with Walt Disney Co, Netflix Inc and other media companies for higher pay and safeguards around the use of artificial intelligence in the streaming TV era.
Zaslav, who is an alumni of the school, was repeatedly disrupted by angry chants and boos from Boston University students, including cries of “we don’t want you here” and “pay your writers”, the report said.
"I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be part of today's commencement and for giving me an honorary degree, and, as I have often said, I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognises their value," Zaslav said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
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The Writers Guild of America had earlier said they would be picketing the ceremony when Boston University announced Zaslav would be giving the commencement speech at the graduation, the report added.
The writers' strike has disrupted production of late-night shows and some TV series, but some filming is continuing.
The last WGA strike in 2007 and 2008 lasted 100 days. The action cost the California economy an estimated $2.1 billion (S$2.8 billion) as productions shut down and out-of-work writers, actors and producers cut back spending.