A week after talk show host Drew Barrymore ignited an organized labor firestorm by defending the controversial decision to resume production of her show during the writers' strike, the actress says she's decided against returning to the airwaves, after all.
It's a surprising about-face from Friday, when she posted an emotional video in which she said that she “certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention” for bringing The Drew Barrymore Show back without its writing staff during the longstanding strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA). She deleted that video by the next day, but that didn't stop celebrities like Rosie O'Donnell from urging her to reverse course via Instagram, with others like Alyssa Milano and Cheyenne Jackson chiming in the comments.
O'Donnell's post excerpted a recent essay by writer Elizabeth Grey, which dismantled Barrymore's initial statement defending her show's return. “Stop taping the show," O'Donnell posted. "Stop asking audiences to cross the picket line. Then ask someone to help you craft three declarative sentences.
“They should follow along these lines: I made an error. I apologize to the WGA for disrespecting the work of professional writers. I apologize to all union members who are withstanding real hardship as I live a life of luxury.”
That's not precisely how Barrymore crafted her announcement, which she posted to Instagram Sunday morning. But the end result was the same, as the show—at least until the WGA strike ends—will not go on.
“I have listened to everyone,” Barrymore posted, “and I am making the decision to pause the show’s premiere until the strike is over.”
“I have no words to express my deepest apologies to anyone I have hurt and, of course, to our incredible team who works on the show and has made it what it is today. We really tried to find our way forward. And I truly hope for a resolution for the entire industry very soon.”
Those worried that—as some have posited—Barrymore was being forced back into production by the studio can also breathe a sigh of relief. Via email, a spokesperson for CBS Media Ventures tells Vanity Fair, “We support Drew’s decision to pause the show’s return and understand how complex and difficult this process has been for her.”
The news is likely viewed as a triumph for the WGA (Vanity Fair reached out to a spokesperson for the union, but has not received a response as of publication time), which has been picketing Barrymore's show since it started taping last week. While those demonstrations are no longer necessary, according to an email sent to WGA members, pickets will continue at The View's New York tapings, and a Tuesday demonstration outside the taping of Real Time With Bill Maher—the first late-night show to resume production—remains on the books.