AMPTP Brings on Crisis PR Firm to Help with Strike Messaging

During the months-long Hollywood strikes, both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have managed to win the court of public opinion fairly easily. Studio heads like David Zaslav and Bob Iger made headlines for sticking their feet in their mouths pretty early on, and studios at large have made moves that don’t paint them in the best of lights.

Another party that’s been struggling to control the narrative? The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which has been villainized for months for its moves against the two worker-led unions and failing to secure a deal with the WGA in particular. Per the Hollywood Reporter, the AMPTP is now looking to change that by hiring PR firm The Levinson Group. The Washington, DC-based company helped the US Women’s National Soccer Team receiving pay parity, and founder Molly Levinson has previously worked at CBS and is said to be known for helping clients with “reputational and risk concerns.”

Though a specific plan from Levinson has yet to be finalized, it’s said the company has been brought on hand to shift the general view that average people may have of studios and their CEOs as greedy and out of touch. A source speaking to Deadline noted that studios “need better coordination, better messaging” to combat the efforts of the writers and media over the summer. As noted by THR, the AMPTP has previously employed non-entertainment PR firms to help with strikes, notably during the 2007-2008 Writers Strike. SAG-AFTRA, for its part, has also brought on some PR help in the form of Stephanie Cutter, who was deputy campaign manager for then-president Barack Obama ahead of the 2012 presidential election.

It’s not surprising to hear that the AMPTP is hoping for writers and actors to eat each other alive and take whatever deal is offered to them. What’s more surprising is how the strikes are nearly four months in and it thinks there’s a chance to salvage the public image of it and the studios. Through social media and picketing, SAG-AFTRA and the WGA have made clear where the blame lies for the strikes, and that they won’t back down until everyone involved benefits from it. And because studios have publicly tried to play these strikes off as no big deal (and something they want to actively punish strikers for), a new PR company may not be enough.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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