Drew Barrymore dropped as awards host, and faces backlash for filming talk show despite strikes

US News

Drew Barrymore has been dropped as host of the National Book Awards ceremony in the US, after resuming filming of her talk show during the Hollywood writers’ strike.

Barrymore has faced criticism and been accused of “scabbing” on social media after announcing the decision, and striking writers picketed the recording of the first show in New York on Monday.

Now, she has been dropped as the host of the National Book Awards, due to take place in November.

In a statement, the organisers said: “The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture.

“In light of the announcement that The Drew Barrymore Show will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”

The organisation said the priority was to celebrate writers and books, adding: “We are grateful to Ms Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation.”

Both actors and writers are currently striking in Hollywood. At the outset of the writers’ strike, which started first, Barrymore dropped out as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards out of solidarity.

More on Drew Barrymore

In her statement announcing the restart of her talk show, she said she was “making the choice to come back for the first time in this strike for our show, that may have my name on it but this is bigger than just me”.

She added: “I own this choice.”

While Barrymore’s show being filmed does not cause issues with the actors’ strike, as daytime talk shows are governed by a different contract that was renewed and ratified in 2022, the programme employs at least three writers who are members of the writers’ guild.

“The only people I know for sure that are not going back are us three WGA writers,” said Chelsea White, one of the show’s writers, on the picket line. “The rest, I can’t really speak for.

“I think first and foremost, this is obviously way bigger than just The Drew Barrymore Show and writers. We are out here standing with our union and feeling great and excited always to stand with our union.”

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Actor George Takei joins SAG-AFTRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers as they walk the picket line during their ongoing strike outside Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, U.S., September 8, 2023. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
Writers have been striking in Hollywood since May

Commenting on Barrymore’s statement on Instagram, writer and White Lotus actress Natasha Rothwell said: “I gotta tell ya, this is a real dookie of an idea. I’ve been on strike for 133 days as a writer and 60 days as an actor and it’s clear you’re determined to undermine the fight.

“This decision is actively working against those you’re claiming to support which means you’re either being wilfully ignorant or you truly don’t care. Either way you’re conflating the importance of your show with the importance of this fight and that is, well, embarrassing.”

Writer and actress Kirsten Vangsness wrote: “I’m sad about this choice. I hope you change your mind. You are lovely and this choice is not lovely.”

The fourth series of Barrymore’s talk show is due to launch on 18 September. According to US entertainment site Variety, US daytime shows The Jennifer Hudson Show and The Talk could also return soon.

Sky News has contacted representatives for Barrymore for comment.

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