Procter & Gamble has squeezed out of a tribute to Mr. Whipple.

The consumer products giant has delayed presenting a lifetime achievement award to Dick Wilson, the actor who portrayed Mr. Whipple in hundreds of ads for P&G’s Charmin brand tissue. It admits the reason is the 23-week strike by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists against advertisers, but stresses it still wants to honor Wilson after the strike ends.

Wilson spoke at a Sept. 13 rally in Los Angeles in support of retaining residuals. He issued an appeal to advertisers, asking, “Please don’t squeeze the actors,” generating applause matched only by Tom Hanks’ remarks.

Several days later, P&G reps told Wilson they were postponing the tribute, which had been set for this week. “They did not give me a reason, but I’m sure it was because I spoke at the rally,” he said.

P&G rep Terry Loftus denied the delay was due to Wilson’s remarks. “His speech had absolutely nothing to do with the postponement,” he said. “But given the current environment, we wanted to make sure that the event was focused on Dick Wilson and not on something else. He has done so much for us and we want to make sure he gets the attention he deserves.”

The unions plan to announce details of a P&G boycott soon due to its use of non-union ads. And Wilson says it’s just as well that P&G decided to hold off on the tribute.

“I don’t know that I really want the lunch anyhow,” he added. “We’ve got to win this strike, that’s all.”