David Zaslav booed at Boston University graduation amid writers’ strike – The Hollywood Reporter

David Zaslav was met with boos and angry cheers from students after taking the stage at Boston University on Sunday to accept his honorary degree and deliver the 2023 commencement address.

These cries began as early as the Warner Bros. CEO’s presentation. Discovery by BU President Robert A. Brown during the 150th kickoff practice at Nickerson Field. As Brown spoke of Zaslav’s “passion for documenting and sharing the human story on a global scale,” cheers and boos spread immediately, followed by what would become a steady ebb and flow of calls throughout his 20-minute speech.

That included yelling, yelling and cheering from hundreds of seated seniors as 7,000 scores were awarded in nearly 350 fields of study Sunday at the event, which kicked off at 1 p.m. ET. “We don’t want you here”, “Pay for your book” and “Shut up, Zaslav” can be heard coming from the audience, messages akin to Stomach cheers for picketing, including some created by members of the school’s YDSA chapter and schoolchildren who were inspired by BU hockey cheers.

At one point, while the CEO of WBD was joking about giving students advice about life, he got more boos and had to stop his speech over and over until the waves of tears temporarily died down. He also discussed finding financial success as a lawyer but feeling unsatisfied because he didn’t like what he was doing, which encouraged the public to follow their passions. But when he said, “I was making good money, I was feeling really great,” the crowd responded with another wave of angry cheers and whoops.

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While parts of his speech focused on work ethic and the struggle to find happiness in his law career, the crowd was relentless and unforgiving in his reception of his narratives about hard work, working with people, choosing kindness and his Hollywood pivot.

β€œSome people are going to look for a fight,” Zaslav told Boston University students mid-speech, to a mixture of boos and cheers. “But don’t be the person they find it with. Focus on the qualities of good people. In my career, I’ve seen a lot of talented people miss out on opportunities or jobs because they can’t get along with other people. You can’t choose the people you work with. Find out what you like in a person β€” there’s Always something – and do whatever it takes to overcome its challenges. We all have them.”

This feeling triggered an audible commotion, with some students laughing while others continued to scream or even express shock.

Zaslav said in a statement to Hollywood Reporter. “As I’ve said repeatedly, I am hugely supportive of the writers and I hope the strike can be resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognizes their value.”

Students from Boston University’s School of Communication, which includes its film and television program, as well as the College of Fine Arts and some enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences, were among those who expressed interest or were expected to participate in the ceremony in protest, according to Vanessa Bartlett, a senior who helped put the event in motion. Student-led writers strike at a solidarity event inside Nickerson Field.

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“I’m in the same college as a bunch of the kids of film and television,” said Bartlett, who studied political science and journalism and was among those who created the official cheers for the day. Hollywood Reporter before the event. “I’m friends with a lot of people in the College of Fine Arts, people who are in the theater arts program, so the sense of solidarity is very important to me.”

Outside the opening ceremony, the detainees had been walking since 11:30 a.m. on Commonwealth Avenue near Harry Agnes Road. Both inaugural events were chaired and led by Boston University’s YDSA group, with outdoor sit-down support and co-coordination with WGA East, Boston DSA, and DSA-LA Hollywood.

This sit-in, which is reported to have been confirmed to have attended about 350 according to one individual who was engaged in event check-in also had support from Boston’s Hollywood and non-Hollywood unions and groups. Among them were members of the BU Graduate Workers Union and the Resident Assistants Union, as well as IASTE, SAG-AFTRA, SEUI, IUPAT, and the Hospitality Union. Boston Local 26, and Local 537 and UA Local 447, which support plumbers, pipe fitters, refrigeration installers, and service technicians. The Greater Boston Labor Council, some local college professors and parents of alumni also joined the line.

In addition, protesters were seen gathering around Rich Hall, where loudspeakers including Zaslav were lowered. Not only was the area filled with protesters, who greeted the WBD CEO as he entered the field, but a giant inflatable Scabby the Rat, brought to the event by IUPAT members.

Before Zaslav took the stage, he was banner plane The message “David Zaslav Pay Your Writers” can also be seen flying over picket and kickoff practices at Nickerson Field.

Prior to the start, the WGA shared a statement on Twitter, explaining that the intent of the solidarity event was not to disrupt graduating seniors. β€œThe picket is in no way intended to prevent students, families or faculty members from attending the graduation ceremony or to disrupt the ceremony,” WGA East tweeted. The toolkit provides context for the sit-down and ideas to support the Writers’ Silent Strike. Thank you for the solidarity.

When Boston University confirmed that Zaslav would give the commencement speech at the graduation ceremony on May 11, despite the ongoing writers’ strike, the Writers Guild officially announced that it would stage the strike at the ceremony. “Boston University should not give voice to someone who wants to destroy their students’ ability to build careers in the film and television industry,” the union said in a statement at the time.

In a previous statement, the WGA called the decision to select Zaslav as one of the speakers at the school’s commencement a “poor decision” and noted that both Boston-based union members and students enrolled in the university’s film and television program had expressed “deep disappointment” about her selection to award the CEO of an undergraduate platform .

β€œHaving Zaslav overseeing the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, it makes it much clearer to the people whose financial interests it is serving, who it is they are looking for, and the writers have made absolutely right that it’s not them,” Ryan Black, a Boston DSA coordinating committee member and one of the organizers said. sit-down THR Before the Solidarity event on Sunday. “I think that made it a magnet – especially given the writers’ strike – of outrage over protests like this.”

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