With untold numbers of people across the globe seeking comfort in the glow of home entertainment as they wait out their housebound coronavirus exile, streaming giant Netflix announced that it will spend $100 million to assist workers who have lost their jobs due to shuttered productions.
Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement Friday, “The COVID-19 crisis is devastating for many industries, including the creative community. Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally—leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters, drivers, hair and makeup artists, and more, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.”
Noting that “this community has supported Netflix through the good times” and that governments are still figuring out “what economic support they will provide,” Sarandos explained that 85 percent of the money with go to the company’s own people.
“Most of the fund will go towards support for the hardest hit workers on our own productions around the world,” Sarandos said. “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 other $15 million will be used to support “third parties and non-profits providing emergency relief to out-of-work crew and cast in the countries where we have a large production base.”
In the U.S., Netflix is pledging $1 million each to the SAG-AFTRA Foundation COVID-19 Disaster Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund Emergency Assistance, with an additional $1 million to be split between the AFC and Foundation des Artistes.
In Europe, Latin America, Asia, and other places where Netflix has a major footprint, Sarandos says the company is “working with existing industry organizations to create similar creative community emergency relief efforts,” adding, “We will announce the details of donations to groups in other countries next week.”