Neil Gaiman at the premiere for Starz' American Gods.

Neil Gaiman Has Good News For Fans Looking to Support the SAG Strike

Ever since SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors in the U.S., announced a strike on Thursday, July 13, there’s been growing confusion over how fans can support the actors—and writers, since the Writers Guild of America is still striking—we love. What does solidarity look like? Should we be boycotting the studios? Should we avoid watching the films and series we’re most excited about, like Barbie and Good Omens 2? Which actions will help, and which, while well-intentioned, might actually cause harm?

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Adding to the confusion, SAG-AFTRA released guidelines for influencers who are paid to promote work from studios that are being picketed. The guidelines are admittedly hard to parse if you’re not familiar with the world of influencers, and some have interpreted the guidelines to mean that any fan who posts fan art, or cosplays at the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con 2023, is essentially crossing a picket line. It was even rumored at one point that any reviews or journalistic coverage was off limits—which, to put it mildly, was pretty surprising news to journalists like me.

Don’t worry, though. As is so often the case these days, Neil Gaiman is acting as the voice of reason.

As a member of both WGA and SAG, Gaiman is in a position to know what both unions need from their supporters, and he’s been debunking rumors on Tumblr.

First, Gaiman tackled the idea that seeing movies and watching shows is harming strike efforts. Avoiding films and TV would essentially be a boycott, Gaiman explains, and neither union has asked for a boycott (at least, not yet). Gaiman also reblogged writer Ben Paddon, who says that a fan-led boycott could actually hurt writers and actors, since studios could use low box office and streaming numbers against them.

Next, Gaiman debunked the myth that fan art and cosplay go against the strikes. The SAG guidelines against promoting struck work, he explains, only apply to paid influencers. Anyone can say anything they want on social media, but that doesn’t make it true. Whether the people spreading misinformation are over-zealous fans, or anti-labor trolls trying to stir up resentment against the unions, rest assured that you don’t have to take a random Twitter thread as gospel.

For anyone looking for further clarification about how the strike affects fans, influencers, and journalists, SAG has provided updated guidelines here.

So, if you’re worried—yes, you can go see Barbie! Yes, you can break out your Marvel cosplay this weekend! Just remember that, while these works could still be created without billionaire CEOs, they would never exist without the writers and actors who brought them to life.

(featured image: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>