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Hollywood actors’ unions accuses studios of ‘bullying tactics’ as talks break down

The Hollywood actors’ union has accused studios of “bullying tactics” as talks to end the three-month strike broke down on Wednesday.

Studios, streaming services and production companies, under the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), announced they had suspended negotiations.

It said the gap between the two sides was too great to continue, despite an offer similar to the one that recently ended the writers’ strike.

But the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) said they were wildly mischaracterising their offer.

Talks started on 2 October for the first time since the strike began in mid-July.

Negotiations between the studios and the writers moved at a much faster pace – with their strike ending just five days after talks started.

“It is clear that the gap between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA is too great, and conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the AMPTP said in a statement.

The SAG-AFTRA proposal would cost companies an additional $800m (£655m) a year and create “an untenable economic burden”, the statement said.

In a letter to members on Thursday, SAG-AFTRA said that figure was overestimated by 60%. The union said its negotiators were “profoundly disappointed” the studios had broken off talks.

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“We have negotiated with them in good faith,” the letter read, “despite the fact that last week they presented an offer that was, shockingly, worth less than they proposed before the strike began.”

Actors have been on strike over issues including pay increases for streaming programming and control of the use of their images generated by artificial intelligence.

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Members of the Writers Guild of America voted almost unanimously to ratify their new contract on Monday.

Their leaders touted their deal as achieving most of what they had sought when they went on strike in May.

They declared their strike over and sent writers back to work on 26 September.

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Late-night talk shows returned to the air within a week, and other shows including Saturday Night Live will soon follow.

But with no actors, production on scripted shows and movies remains at a standstill.

The strikes have cost the California economy billions and left thousands of crew members without work.

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