Drew Barrymore has amassed a ton of good will over her long career, but last week she nearly lost all of it: She dared bring her daytime talk show back on-air. The move caused instant backlash, not just from the WGA but from fans, some of whom called her a “scab.” The furor was such that she recorded an emotional video defending her decision. She eventually took that down, then went one further.
“I have listened to everyone, and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over,” Barrymore wrote on Instagram, as caught by Variety. “I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
Barrymore’s decision to effectively cross the picket lines was baffling to many given that when the WGA strike began all the way back in May, she bowed out of her gig hosting the MTV Movie and TV Awards in solidarity with the strikers. Jump some four months later and she was bringing back a writer-less version of her strange yet endearing chat show.
“I own this choice,” she said at the time. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time.”
Chaos ensued. At a taping of the maiden return episode last Monday, audience members wearing pins showing solidarity with the WGA — some of whom were striking outside Barrymore’s show, some of whom were staffers on her show — were ejected from the building. Barrymore herself was later removed as the host of the National Book Awards. But perhaps this mea culpa will be a good first step in rehabbing her quickly tattered image.