“The life of an artist, until you make f—-you money — which I haven’t made yet — is still cheque-to-cheque.”
Billy Porter has a pointed message for Disney CEO Bob Iger in the wake of his comments about striking writers and actors being unrealistic with demands: “F— you.”
The Emmy-winning Pose star weighed in on the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike in a recent interview with Evening Standard, revealing that he has to sell his home as a result. “I don’t know when we’re gonna go back [to work],” Porter said. “The life of an artist, until you make f— you money — which I haven’t made yet — is still cheque-to-cheque. I was supposed to be in a new movie, and on a new television show starting in September. None of that is happening.”
It’s been frustrating to hear folks brush off the strikes as “just a bunch of millionaires trying to get more millions,” Porter said. “They think we’re entitled. Meanwhile, we’re getting six cent cheques,” he said. “It hurts my feelings.” Streaming, he added, has altered the landscape for artists.
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“There’s no contract for it,” he said of streaming and residual payments. “And they don’t have to be transparent with the numbers; it’s not Nielsen ratings anymore. The streaming companies are notoriously opaque with their viewership figures. The business has evolved. So the contract has to evolve and change, period. To hear Bob Iger say that our demands for a living wage are unrealistic? While he makes $78,000 a day? I don’t have any words for it, but: f— you.”
“That’s not useful, so I’ve kept my mouth shut,” Porter added. “I haven’t engaged because I’m so enraged. I’m glad I’ve been over here [in London]. But when I go back I will join the picket lines.”
Among his upcoming projects that have been stalled is a James Baldwin biopic, which Porter was set to co-write and headline. He’s currently co-producing Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop in London (theater is not affected by the strikes) and is also set to release his fifth studio album The Black Mona Lisa next year. Last month, Porter and his husband Adam Smith made the “amicable” decision to separate after six years of marriage, which he also addressed in the interview.
“It’s bittersweet,” Porter said. “But relationships are hard. I will always love him. We made it as far as we could. But we learn, we grow and we live. And I’m looking forward to the next adventure.” He added, “She’s back on the market! Looking for an English huzzzband! And you have to spell it just like that! Huzzzband!”