I know Drew Barrymore has an experienced publicist, Stephen Huvane, and that both the CAA and CBS braintrusts are advising her. But here’s a free statement that she could have put out instead of the bizarre hostage videos that turned her into perhaps the most high-profile villain of the strike, going from “I own this choice” to “I have no words to express my deepest apologies” in less than a week:
I don’t know if that would have ultimately made a difference, but the initial Barrymore video could not have been more ill-conceived. (When I first saw it, I thought it was Chloe Fineman doing Drew Barrymore.) She explained almost nothing about the business issues or any dilemma she faced—after all, The Jennifer Hudson Show, The Talk, and others with WGA writers were also planning to return—and expressed no real sympathy for the striking writers and actors. Instead, she put the privileged face of Hollywood royalty out there for social media to dissect and ridicule—and for the Writers Guild to weaponize against her. Which it did, relentlessly, both behind the scenes and, importantly, through its 11,000 members, many of whom are active online and—shocker—are very effective communicators. The funny memes, the vitriolic shaming, the peer pressure—and from actors too, even though SAG-AFTRA has an active agreement with the talk shows.