Drew Barrymore is speaking out. The 48-year-old host of The Drew Barrymore Show took to Instagram on Friday to emotionally address her decision to resume production on her talk show, despite the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
“I believe there is nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it OK,” she said, alluding to the backlash she received for her decision to resume production. “I wanted to own a decision so that it wasn’t a PR-protected situation and I would just take full responsibility for my actions. I know there’s just nothing I can do that will make this OK for those it is not OK with. I fully accept that. I fully understand that.”
“There are so many reasons why this is so complex and I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone. It’s not who I am,” Barrymore continued. “I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them.”
She added, “I deeply apologize to writers, I deeply apologize to unions, I deeply apologize.”
“I don’t know exactly know what to say because sometimes when things are so tough, it’s hard to make decisions from that place, so all I can say is that I wanted to accept responsibility, and no, I don’t have a PR machine behind this,” she said. “My decision to go back to the show, I didn’t want to hide behind people, so I won’t. And I won’t polish this with bells and whistles and publicists and corporate rhetoric. I’ll just stand out there and accept and be responsible.”
Barrymore continued her video by acknowledging that “there’s a huge question of the why. Why am I doing this?”
“Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention,” she said, before revealing that she still plans to move forward with production. “We aren’t going to break rules and we are going to be in compliance.”
“I wanted to do this because, as I said, this is bigger than me and there are other people’s jobs on the line,” she said. “Since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times. I weighed the scales and I thought, ‘If we could go on during a global pandemic, and everything that the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?'”
Barrymore concluded, “I want to just put one foot in front of the other and make a show that’s there for people, regardless of anything else that’s happening in the world, because that’s when, I think, we all need something that wants to be there, being very realistic in very realistic times. So that is my why.”
Following Barrymore’s video, a spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures, which produces The Drew Barrymore Show, told ET, “The Drew Barrymore Show has been a largely unscripted talk show from the beginning. The shows we are producing this season are now completely unscripted. No one has stepped in to do the work of WGA writers. If you watch the show, it is obvious that Drew has always brought raw, unfiltered, spontaneous and open conversations to her viewers. Absolutely no struck work is being performed, and to imply otherwise is just plain wrong. We support Drew and her producing team 100 percent.”
The CMV spokesperson additionally noted that no one on staff will fill the writing positions during the strike. Until that time, the spokesperson said, Barrymore will be ad-libbing and sharing her own remarks, which is not writing under the WGA Agreement. As for why they’ve opted to return, the spokesperson noted that, since there are upward of 150 people employed on the show, getting the staff and crew back to work was an important consideration for resuming production.
Additionally, SAG-AFTRA released a statement, revealing why The Drew Barrymore Show‘s return does not violate rules of its ongoing strike.
“The Drew Barrymore Show is produced under the Network Television Code which is a separate contract and is not struck,” SAG-AFTRA told ET. “It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”
While actors cannot currently promote their scripted work amid the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strike, they are free to promote projects such as reality shows, talk shows, game shows, sports and more. The CMV spokesperson noted that SAG-AFTRA guests will not discuss any of their scripted projects which are subject to the SAG-AFTRA strike while on The Drew Barrymore Show.
Barrymore first announced the return of The Drew Barrymore Show in an Instagram post earlier this month.
“I made a choice to walk away from the MTV, film and television awards because I was the host and it had a direct conflict with what the strike was dealing with which was studios, streamers, film, and television,” Barrymore wrote of her May decision to step down as host of the MTV Movie & TV Awards due to the strikes. “It was also in the first week of the strike and so I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers.”
“However, I am also 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. I own this choice,” she added. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind. We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.”
Barrymore concluded, “I hope for a resolve for everyone as soon as possible. We have navigated difficult times since we first came on air. And so I take a step forward to start season 4 once again with an astute humility.”
The WGA responded to Barrymore’s decision in a tweet, writing, “The @DrewBarrymoreTV Show is a WGA covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers. The Guild has, and will continue to, picket struck shows that are in production during the strike. Any writing on The Drew Barrymore Show is in violation of WGA strike rules.”
After Barrymore’s announcement, Bill Maher said his show, Real Time With Bill Maher, would likewise return without writers. Additionally, CBS’ panel show, The Talk, and two syndicated talk shows, The Jennifer Hudson Show and Sherri, hosted by Sherri Shepherd, are reportedly returning to production for season premieres in the coming weeks.