Mandy Moore might be a household name, but that doesn’t mean she’s making a ton of money when fans stream her past work.
“The residual issue is a huge issue,” Moore, 39, told The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, July 18, while joining the Disney picket line in Burbank, California, in support of the SAG-AFTRA strike. “We’re in incredibly fortunate positions as working actors having been on shows that found tremendous success in one way or another … but many actors in our position for years before us were able to live off of residuals or at least pay their bills.”
The This Is Us alum — who played Rebecca Pearson on the NBC drama from 2016 to 2022 — revealed that she received “very tiny, like, 81-cent checks” from the streaming residuals for the Emmy-winning series.
“I was talking with my business manager who said he’s received a residual for a penny and two pennies,” Moore told the outlet.
In May 2017, Hulu acquired the streaming rights for This Is Us, beating out Netflix and Amazon. Hulu has since had co-exclusive rights to any digital rollout of the drama along with NBC, which is where the show initially aired.
The current SAG-AFTRA strike — which comes amid the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike — is focused in part on getting actors fair wages, transparency for streaming residuals and guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence in media.
SAG president, Fran Drescher, confirmed on Thursday, July 13, that the union, which is made up of more than 160,000 TV and movie stars, would be striking alongside WGA, which began its call for action in May.
“It’s a very serious thing that impacts thousands, if not millions of people all across this country and around the world,” Drescher, 65, said in a press conference after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) did not agree to any of the union’s terms. “Not only members of this union but people who work in other industries that service the people that work in this industry. … We had no choice. We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity.”
During the strike, unionized actors are forbidden to film any struck projects and are not allowed to promote their work, including past, present or future shows and films.
Moore, for her part, was one of the many actors who joined the crowds on day one of the strike on Friday, July 14. She was surrounded by This Is Us pals Chrissy Metz and Jon Huertas.
“My forever family,” Moore captioned a picture with her former castmates via her Instagram Story on Friday. They all held signs in support of the cause.
While Moore’s story of small streaming residuals may surprise fans, she’s not the only actor who’s been vocal about the problem.
Gilmore Girls alum Sean Gunn, for example, told THR on Friday that he “wanted to come out and protest Netflix” because the WB series has “brought in massive profits for Netflix” and that money has not trickled down to the original cast.
After Gunn’s initial interview with the outlet was taken down, he clarified his remarks via Twitter.
“I did an interview from the picket line at Netflix yesterday for The Hollywood Reporter, and they took that interview down because apparently I didn’t note that my residuals aren’t paid by Netflix, but they’re actually paid by the production company, Warner Bros.,” Gunn, 49, said on Saturday, July 15.
The actor — who played Kirk for all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls and its subsequent Netflix revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life — pointed out that the blame still lands on streaming sites such as Netflix.
“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 Netflix. 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,” Gunn continued. “But when the show is a huge success, and they generate millions of dollars in profits for Netflix, we don’t share in any of that, in large part because there’s no transparency with their numbers. But really, this is about fairness for everybody. 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.”