On March 25, the U.S. Senate approved a massive $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes an expansion of unemployment benefits, though it did not make any specific provisions for the entertainment industry. Here’s a rundown of the many corporate, guild and grassroots efforts that are springing up to help those in the entertainment industry during the coronavirus crisis.
Netflix was the first major company to make a commitment, pledging $100 million to assist out-of-work crew members across the industry, organizations that support entertainment workers and workers on Netflix-produced shows.
NBCUniversal has committed $150 million to help its employees, while WarnerMedia has pledged $100 million.
Here are some of the other guild efforts and funds that aim to aid workers in the entertainment industry:
SAG-AFTRA has an online application for members affected by coronavirus-related shutdowns to request funds for rent, utilities, medical bills and other necessities, administered through the Actor’s Fund. It’s available to full-fledged members whose dues are paid through Oct. 2019. The guild is also asking for donations to the fund from those able to give financial assistance.
The Actor’s Fund is partnering with SAG-AFTRA, PGA, AEA Curtin Up Fund, AGMA Relief Fund, IATSE Local 798 and Musician Union Local 802 to provide emergency funds covering basic living expenses for affected members. The Fund asks for those who have immediate needs covered to wait to apply so that the most needy can be served.
EIF has launched the COVID-19 response fund to provide financial relief to entertainment industry workers affected by coronavirus-related shutdowns. The fund will also contribute to public health efforts. Donations to coronavirus relief may be made here.
The Writers Guild of America covers “100% of cost-sharing (including deductible and co-insurance) for both in-network and out-of-network tests and screening” for coronavirus. The organization also offers emergency assistance loans to members through MPTF. Check the guild’s website for further resources.
The Directors Guild of America offers short-term loans to affected members and also covers the cost of coronavirus testing.
The Producers Guild of America Members Relief Fund will assist PGA members impacted by the coronavirus crisis ,helping the members affected most such as associate producers and line producers. Apply through the Actors Fund.
IATSE’s COVID-19 portal includes information on free testing for members and encourages all to contact members of congress to ask them to include entertainment workers in the government relief package.
Teamsters Local 399 has a COVID-19 information page as well as information on supermarket chains hiring qualified truck drivers.
Call 323-634-3888 to inquire about the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s programs to aid industry workers. “Temporary emergency financial assistance is available to qualified industry members experiencing financial hardship due to illness, disability, unemployment, or other reasons. This assistance may cover expenses such as mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, car insurance premiums, car payments, and food,” the organization’s website says.
The National Association of Theatre Owners and its charitable arm Motion Picture Pioneers have committed an initial $2.4 million with phase one covering those who have worked in exhibition more than five years. Details on the org’s website.
The Recording Academy and Musicares have established the Musicares COVID-19 Relief Fund to help support those who have lost income due to the cancellation of scheduled gigs or performances.
The Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund raised $75,000 for New York City theater employees, thanks to donations from people including Karyn Kusama and James Schamus.
TV writer Liz Alper started the Relief Fund for Hollywood Support Staff, which has raised more than $364,000 via GoFundMe including generous donations from Lena Dunham, Ryan Murphy, David Benioff and many others.
Journalist and social media maven Yashar Ali has started a GoFundMe to raise money for hourly workers. The fund has raised more than $747,000 since its creation on March 19.
The Nashville Filmmakers Guild’s fund aims to support Nashville area crew affected by shutdowns.