Netflix has created a $100 million relief fund to help members of the creative community who have been left unemployed and without a way to earn an income during the coronavirus crisis. The streaming giant said the bulk of the funds will go toward supporting laid-off crew members.
“The COVID-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally — leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs,” Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis. This community has supported Netflix through the good times, and we want to help them through these hard times, especially while governments are still figuring out what economic support they will provide.”
The move comes as the entertainment industry is grappling with mass unemployment. Some 120,000 crew members have lost their jobs since the infection rate began spiking and production ground to a halt. Guilds and unions such as IATSE and SAG-AFTRA have been pressing the federal and local governments for help as their members face a stark economic reality.
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Additionally, $15 million of the Netflix fund will go to third parties and non-profits that offer emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in countries where there’s a large production base. Of that, Netflix said it will donate $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the U.S., as well as $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. Sarandos said the company is also working with industry organizations to bolster relief efforts in Europe, Latin America and Asia, where many of its movies and shows are shot.
Netflix will also look at projects it was on production on when filming was suspended to determine if various crew members and workers need assistance.
“What’s happening is unprecedented,” Sarandos said. “We are only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.”