The Writers Guild of America have been on strike since for nearly three weeks now, and it’s likely it won’t end any time soon. At heart of the matter are major studios’ unwillingness to meet a slew of guild members’ demands, among them fairer pay and better regulation of AI technology. Amidst all this, Boston University announced that one of the big studio heads, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav, would be giving the commencement speech this weekend. The college didn’t cancel the appearance, so when Zaslav showed up, he was in for a bit of a surprise.
Zaslav loudly booed at BU commencement. Although I’m incapable of being happy, this comes close. pic.twitter.com/qtIaMJJaFb
— Shawn Wines WGA Captain (@shawnwines) May 21, 2023
As per The Hollywood Reporter, as soon as Zaslav’s name was mentioned, the crowd of students and family members erupted into loud boos. Certain phrases could reportedly be heard amongst the din, among them “We don’t want you here!”, “Pay You Writers!”, “Shut Up Zaslav,” and “F*ck you, you piece of sh*t.”
The boos didn’t stop when Zaslav took to the lectern. When he joked about giving students life advice, they erupted again. It happened again when he talked about “making good money” as a lawyer before pivoting to Hollywood.
It wasn’t just students who gave Zaslav a hard time. WGA members picketed outside the commencement building.
— Calvin Starnes (@CalvinStarnesOG) May 21, 2023
There was also a plane that circled, carrying the message “David Zaslav — Pay Your Writers.”
David Zaslav, Head Of Warner Brothers / Discovery Is Getting An Honorary Degree At Boston University – A plane towed this message circling the ceremony
— K. B. (@kbsez) May 21, 2023
It’s likely that the WGA strike wasn’t the only reason Zaslav was jeered. Since taking over Warner Bros. Discovery, he’s been a controversial figure. Among his polarizing moves is cancelling movies that were close to completion, messing with the perfectly cromulent HBO Max (soon to be simply Max, confusingly), and taking CNN in new and alarming directions. Indeed, him facing public opprobrium comes on the same day CNN revealed they want to cover “both sides” of divisive issues rather than investigate whether or not one is closer to the truth.
In the 1940s, major news organizations covering WWII gave one-sided coverage of the Allies and failed to give Hitler's political views a fair hearing. Zaslav is just trying to learn from history and not make the same mistakes those Advocacy Networks made. https://t.co/gAB8nw4ZsH
— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) May 21, 2023