We’re sorry to say it but the Green Arrow might be a bit of an A-Hole. Speaking at GalaxyCon in Raleigh, NC this past weekend, Stephen Amell had some disappointing thoughts on the current WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which makes him the most vocal star so far to speak out against the work stoppage. However, after he got a healthy dose of backlash from actors and media alike, he made another statement clarifying and contextualizing his thoughts.
“I support my union, I do, and I stand with them, but I do not support striking, I don’t,” the actor said originally, as reported by Deadline. “I think it is a reductive negotiating tactic, and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. And I think the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on, that premiered last night, I think it’s myopic.”
So much about this statement that is completely mindboggling. For example, how can you support unions but not support striking? A strike, where a union lives up to its name and unifies together, is the most powerful tool a union has. It’s the finishing move. Workers coming together to collectively put their foot down against the bosses. How that ultimate show of strength could be thought of as reductive just kind of makes zero sense.
And you can go through the rest of his statement with a scalpel too. Strikes are “incredibly frustrating” to everyone by design, but they aren’t “myopic,” as their aim is to help the future, not the present—even if Amell was referring to the unfortunate timing of his current show (he’s on Starz series Heels, which just returned for its second season), etc. etc.
So there’s a lot to think about here. Which Amell did Tuesday morning, tempering his earlier statements in a lengthy post on Instagram. We’ve copied and pasted it all below:
“Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to the comments I made this weekend about our strike. To ensure there is no misunderstanding about my thoughts and intentions I’m providing what I actually said and clarity/context to ensure my feelings aren’t unintentionally misinterpreted. We all know soundbites can be taken out of context and I have too much respect for my fellow union members to not clarify the record.
What I actually said:
1 “I support my union, I do, and I stand with them.”
This doesn’t need much clarity: My support is unconditional and I stand with them.
What I actually said:
2 “I do not support striking, I don’t.”
What this means in full context: I understand fundamentally why we’re here. My off the cuff use of the word “support” is clearly contradictory to my true feelings and my emphatic statement that I stand with my union. Of course I don’t like striking. Nobody does. But we have to do what we have to do.
What I said
3 “I think that it is a reductive negotiating tactic and I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating.”
In full context: I’m an actor and I was speaking extemporaneously for over an hour. I emote, but I certainly don’t think these issues are simple. Our leadership has an incredibly complicated job and I am grateful for all that they do. Despite some of my terrible early acting work, I assure you, I’m not a robot. From an intellectual perspective, I understand why we are striking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t emotionally frustrating on many levels for all involved.
What I said
4 “I think that thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I am on that premiered last night, I think it is myopic”
What I meant: Nothing about the strike is funny but if I may self deprecate for a moment. I have no clue what I was trying to say here and who says, “I think that thinking...?” Perhaps it was an inarticulate shoutout to our crew and cast, who mean the world to me. I’m simply sad that we don’t have a chance to celebrate a show that all of us figuratively and I literally, broke my back for.
As I said from the jump, I want to ensure that my thoughts and intentions are not misconstrued. This situation reminds of the proverb, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” which apparently, after reading a limited amount of the commentary, is a place many of you would like me to visit. However, at least for the foreseeable future, I choose to stand with my union. When you see me on a picket line please don’t whip any hard fruit.”
Amell’s reply here at least shows some thought went into it, but he does kind of walk it back with the “at least for the foreseeable future” bit. (Does that suggest he might not stand with his union eventually?) Also, Amell isn’t alone in these thoughts. Certainly, other actors and writers disagree with their collective strikes. But no one says that in public. That’s solidarity. That’s support. Plus, as many actors walk on picket lines outside of studios and streamers, it’s curious that Amell was at a convention to, apparently, talk about the latest season of his new show. Was he given some special waiver? Aren’t actors not supposed to be promoting struck work at conventions?
Let us know what you think about Amell’s thoughts below. We’ll continue to follow the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes here on io9.
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