As social distance and shelter-at-home orders continue to force the entertainment industry to suspend production and cancel or shift scheduled premieres, workers from all corners of the film and television worlds are being impacted as their work grinds to a halt. Now, Netflix says it’s created a $US100 ($172) million relief fund to offset some of the impacts to workers in the community.
Netflix announced Friday that $US15 ($26) million of the fund will go to organisations providing help to cast and crew who are no longer working as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, noting that this money would specifically be allocated to countries where it maintains a large production presence.
“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “We’re in the process of working out exactly what this means, production by production. This is in addition to the two weeks pay we’ve already committed to the crew and cast on productions we were forced to suspend last week.”
The company will also be donating $US1 ($2) million each to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Covid-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance. An additional $US1 ($2) million donation will be shared between the organisations Fondation des Artistes and AFC.
The impact of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic has already touched virtually every industry and has resulted in unprecedented layoffs and furloughs, and the arts and entertainment fields have been severely impacted. Last week, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees president Matthew D. Loeb called for a federal relief fund for those workers most impacted by covid-19, specifically requesting continued health coverage as well as extended unemployment, disability, and workers compensation insurance.
Netflix’s relief fund certainly doesn’t come anywhere near the amount of funding needed to adequately meet the financial needs of those in the entertainment community most impacted during this time, but it is a much-needed effort and one that will hopefully encourage others in the entertainment and production worlds to follow suit.
In his note, Sarandos said the company is “only as strong as the people we work with and Netflix is fortunate to be able to help those hardest hit in our industry through this challenging time.”