Support staffers in the entertainment industry are infamously underpaid and overworked. With the spread of COVID-19, these workers — assistants, PAs, readers, etc. — are in an even more unstable situation. Production on many films and TV shows have come to a halt amid the major shutdowns and cancellations resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Many productions have been pushed back indefinitely.
Some of the already-low wages of the support staff on these productions have been cut partly or completely as a result of production shutdowns. In response, #PayUpHollywood, Scriptnotes Podcast, Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society (JHRTS) and YEA! have created the Hollywood Support Staff COVID-19 Relief Fund. The fund aims to raise $100,000 to provide stipends of either $450 or $900 to 111-222 support staffers who have lost part of or all of their salary as a result of COVID-19.
The fund is creating a stir in the entertainment industry with showrunners Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti, and more making pledges. Both Rhimes and Berlanti have pledged to match donations up to $25,000 to the fund.
By Oorie Garabedian
Photo: Thomas Wolfe