“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Sean Gunn posted a video to Twitter Saturday clarifying comments made to The Hollywood Reporter about the SAG-AFTRA strike, his work on “Gilmore Girls” and residuals he receives from that series’ Netflix streams.
The publication removed his interview from the social network on Friday “because it did not note that the residuals Gunn was referencing are paid by the studio [Warner Bros. Discovery] and not the streamer, Netflix” — a move Gunn said was “absolutely absurd.”
“I never even used the word ‘residuals’ in my interview. The point I was making is that we don’t see any residuals for number of views on Netflix. Instead, we see a very meager amount from WB based on the licensing. Do better @THR,” Gunn wrote before posting a more expansive video response.
“The important thing is that the whole point of my interview is that Netflix doesn’t pay residuals to the actors, so there’s no sharing in the success of a show with Netlfix,” he said in the video, which you can watch below. “It’s true that they pay a licensing fee to Warner Bros. and that Warner Bros. then pays residuals from that licensing fee, which is a very small amount, particularly for a show that’s been off the air for a long time. But when the show is a huge success and they generate millions of dollars of profits for Netflix, we don’t share in any of that, in large part because there’s no transparency with their numbers.”
He continued: “But really, this is about fairness for everybody, and we just want to make sure we have a fair deal. If a show’s a success, we should participate in that. That seems totally reasonable, I think anybody can relate to it.”
Gunn interviewed with The Hollywood Reporter while picketing with fellow SAG-AFTRA members outside Netflix in Los Angeles on Friday, saying he “particularly wanted to come out and protest Netflix.”
“I was on a television show called ‘Gilmore Girls’ for a long time that has brought in massive profits for Netflix,” Gunn said. “It has been one of their most popular shows for a very long time, over a decade. It gets streamed over and over and over again, and I see almost none of the revenue that comes into that.”
After Netflix began streaming “Gilmore Girls” (which originally ran from 2001-2007 on The WB, now The CW), the show became so popular that the streamer greenlit a revival called “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Gunn was hired to reprise his role of Kirk, but he explained that regardless of how many millions of streams the show receives on Netflix, the actors get the same amount of residuals via the licensing agreement payments that Warner Bros. Discovery receives.
Gunn then went on to take direct aim at Netflix’s CEOs Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings, questioning why they don’t share some of “the “tens of millions of dollars” they give each other.
“Ted Sarandos made $40 million with the bonuses that they made with their corporate profits. I don’t understand why they can’t lessen those bonuses to share the wealth more with the people who have created the content that has gotten them rich. It really is a travesty,” Gunn contended. “And if the answer is, ‘Well, this is just how business is done, this is just how corporate business works,’ that sucks. That makes you a bad person. And you really need to rethink how you do business and share the wealth with people, otherwise this is all going to come crashing down. I’m happy to be out here, and we need a fair deal.”
According to additional reports and SEC filings, Sarandos and Hastings’ salaries in 2022 came from stock options. Sarandos earned $50.3 million while Hastings took in $51.1 million, which bonuses did not factor into.