Last year, Chicago Fire writer and WGA board member Liz Alper alongside Jamarah Hayner and Deirdre Mangan formed #payuphollywood, an activist group built to organize Hollywood workers around demands for better pay and safety in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Now, the group is raising funds to send out small, short-term stipends to workers who find themselves suddenly unemployed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The group, joined by WGA board member John August and Chernobyl creator Craig Mazin, hosts of the podcast “ScriptNotes,” has launched a GoFundMe account that so far has raised over $320,000. Here is a statement from their page:
The goal of the organization is to provide emergency checks of $450-900 to Hollywood workers who were working on projects that were either filming or set to go into production when the pandemic hit.
In the last week, the entertainment industry has come to a near-complete standstill, threatening the financial security of hundreds, if not thousands. Many companies and productions are laying off or cutting hours for Assistants, PAs, Coordinators, Readers and other support staff. This is a massive loss of revenue for those who already weren’t making a living wage. While unemployment benefits are being expedited, most support staff can’t afford to pay rent and bills on the UEI max cap of $450/week; the situation is worse for support staff who were hired as 1099 employees and do not qualify for unemployment – these employees will have no income during this crisis and currently have no way to access federal relief.
We urge the studios and employers in the entertainment industry to continue compensating ALL their employees during this time of uncertainty. We know this is an expensive ask, but businesses profit because of the hard work of a company’s employees. They need your financial protection and support now more than ever.
According to the organization, $450 checks will be available to those who qualify and who are currently receiving unemployment checks from the California Employee Development Department (EDD).
$900 checks will be available to qualified applicants who cannot get checks from the EDD for various reasons, such as 1099 employee status. Information on EDD services, including aid to those infected or caring for someone infected with coronavirus can check their website for more information.
Those who wish to apply can fill out the survey here. Aid will be provided based on order of applications received and level of need. All applicants will need to provide documentation of employment lost, EDD application proof, and/or other information as listed in the survey.
Those who wish to donate to the fund can do so on their GoFundMe page.