Netflix creates $100 million relief fund for jobless Hollywood community
As Hollywood begins to rally around its out-of-work production employees in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Netflix is stepping up in a big way. The streaming giant has created a $100 million relief fund for the hundreds of thousands of people suddenly without jobs as film and TV productions were halted during the outbreak.
In a letter posted on Netflix's company blog, chief content officer Ted Sarandos explained, "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. Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world... This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week."
The money will not just support workers on Netflix projects, noted Sarandos, but the industry as a whole, with $15 million earmarked for third parties and non-profits who offer emergency relief to out-of-work crew (many are hourly employees) and actors in the countries where Netflix has a production presence. He explained that Netflix will donate $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund and the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the U.S., as well as another million split between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes.
It is unclear at the moment how the federal government plans to assist these workers, if at all, and in the meantime, showrunners including Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti, Julie Plec, David Benioff, Damon Lindelof, Lisa Joy, and Jonah Nolan have pledged key donations for the Hollywood Support Staff COVID-19 Relief Fund, which was created by #PayUpHollywood, Scriptnotes Podcast, Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society, and YEA!.
Meanwhile, celebrities including Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are donating to other relief efforts.
Here is Sarandos' letter in full:
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. 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. So we’ve created a $100 million fund to help with hardship in the creative community.
Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world. We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.
Beyond helping workers on our own productions, we also want to support the broader film and television industry. So $15 million of the fund will go to third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.
In the United States and Canada non-profits already exist to do this work. We will be donating $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance in the US, and $1 million between the AFC and Fondation des Artistes. In other regions, including Europe, Latin America and Asia where we have a big production presence, we are working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts. We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.
What’s happening is unprecedented. 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.