Following severe online backlash from supporters of the Writers Guild of America strike and related work stoppages, Drew Barrymore has overridden her previous sad doubling down video and decided to delay the return of The Drew Barrymore Show. The talk show’s newest season will not run until the strike is over in spite of the actress’s previous insistence that airing it during the labor action would not break any union rules, which the WGA disputed.

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“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” she said in an Instagram statement. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”

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Not long after Barrymore caved to all the voices calling her a scab and pointing out how much she was hurting all workers by undermining the strike, Bill Maher came out with his own statement saying that he was also delaying the new season of his show. Maher had followed Barrymore’s lead in the first place, announcing that Real Time would air in spite of the strike, and was also called out for being anti-union.

He’s trying to make the excuse that he reversed his decision because negotiations between the writers and the studio executives have resumed, and everyone is definitely buying it.

“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike,” he tweeted. “Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of Real Time, for now, and hope they can finally get this done.”

It seems much more likely that Hollywood is basically obligated to follow Drew Barrymore’s lead, as one of the most beloved actresses around (at least before her attempt at scabbing). In addition to Maher’s program, The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Talk also announced that they would be pushing back their new seasons, which were set to air their first episodes on September 18.

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Barrymore attracted mass amounts of criticism after announcing that her own talk show would go on without her union writers, resulting in the WGA picketing her studio and loads of bad press. Things only got worse for her after she posted a video of herself claiming to apologize but refusing to reverse her decision and pretending to be emotional about it.

Many union supporters have credited these eventual reversals to the power of public opinion. Some may jokingly call this “bullying,” but the nicer way to put it is that the power of the people united is indeed real, and that’s why unions work. Of course, it may have helped if a lot of the celebrities these shows wanted to book were signaling that they would refuse in solidarity with the striking writers.

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*First Published: September 18, 2023, 10:20 am