Drew Barrymore announced the return of her series on September 10 with an Instagram post which has since been deleted, as has the teary-eyed follow-up video she posted on September 15. In the video, she apologized to writers but described the issue as “so complex” and did not announce a plan to stop production.
“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” she said in the deleted video. “I wanted to own a decision so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation. And I would just take full responsibility for my actions. I know there’s just nothing I can do that will make this OK for those that is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that.”
Barrymore attempted to explain her position, saying, “Why am I doing this? Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t going to break rules, and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this because as I said, this is bigger than me. And there are other people’s jobs on the line.”
Since Barrymore’s first post, protesters have gathered outside the CBS Studios in New York, with some audience members claiming they were kicked out of the taping for wearing WGA pins. Meanwhile, Barrymore was dropped as the host of the National Book Awards and has been facing criticism from strike supporters and Hollywood peers, including Rosie O’Donnell, Debra Messing, Bradley Whitford, and Alyssa Milano.
“You can choose now to halt production. You can choose to pay your employees like other talk show hosts who have stood in solidarity with the writers,” Messing wrote in response to Barrymore’s since-deleted video, per The Wrap. “There are thousands of union members jobs and livelihoods that are at stake (exponentially more than those who work on your show) and the future of our beloved industry. I hope you will reconsider.”