struck out

Drew Barrymore Apologizes to Writers, but Will Resume Her Show Anyway

Barrymore addressed the swift backlash to the return of her talk show amid the WGA strike, admitting that “there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay.”
Drew Barrymore

After defending her daytime talk show’s return amid the ongoing writers strike on Sunday, Drew Barrymore put a face to her show’s decision in a video apology posted to Instagram on Friday.?

“I believe there’s nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay,” the host began, noting that her choice to resume The Drew Barrymore Show “wasn’t a PR-protected situation” and that she was taking “full responsibility” for the call. “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 added. “I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them.”

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Earlier this week, there was swift backlash to the announcement that her talk show would return despite both the WGA and SAG strikes, though Barrymore is not alone: Other daytime TV shows, including The Talk, The Jennifer Hudson Show, and Sherri, are also resuming production, as is Bill Maher’s HBO late-night series, Real Time. The WGA announced that it would picket the Monday and Tuesday tapings of Barrymore’s program, as it is “a WGA-covered, struck show that is planning to return without its writers.” SAG-AFTRA released a statement clarifying that Barrymore wasn’t in violation of its strike, saying that her return to The Drew Barrymore Show “is permissible work” and that “Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.” Barrymore, who bowed out of hosting May’s MTV Movie & TV Awards due to the WGA strike’s start, was subsequently dropped as host of the National Book Awards ceremony.

Chelsea White, Cristina Kinon, and Liz Koe, the three head writers on The Drew Barrymore Show, joined the WGA’s protests on Monday and Tuesday, as reported by Rolling Stone and The Hollywood Reporter. White told the former outlet that she learned of the show’s return via an Instagram post and was “disappointed” by the move. “When any production that is covered under WGA comes back during a strike, it undermines our whole group effort to come to a fair contract with the AMPTP,” she said.

“I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions. I deeply apologize,” Barrymore said in her Instagram video. “I don’t exactly know what to say because sometimes, when things are so tough, it’s hard to make decisions from that place.” She reiterated that it was her decision to resume the show, which reportedly forced all audience members to take off their WGA pins upon entry to the studio’s building due to safety concerns. “The pins set off the metal detectors at CBS Broadcast Center security,” said a spokesperson for The Drew Barrymore Show. “Audience members were asked to remove them and then offered them back after they cleared the metal detectors.”

Barrymore continued: “My decision to go back to the show, I didn’t wanna 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.”

Although Barrymore alluded to the show being “bigger than” her and featuring programming that’s built for “sensitive times,” she never explicitly stated why the program was returning at such a precarious moment. “There’s a huge question of the why—why am I doing this?” Barrymore said before emitting a laugh. “Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention, and we aren’t gonna break rules and we will 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. And since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times. And 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?”

Despite the fallout—and the many critical comments on her Instagram post announcing the show’s return—Barrymore said production is forging ahead. “I wanna 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,” Barrymore said in her latest post. “So that is my why.”