Actor and stunt coordinator Mike Massa set himself on fire at a SAG-AFTRA picket line on Tuesday, a fiery move to protest the unfair working conditions both actors and writers are fighting against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
Massa, who recently worked as Harrison Ford’s stunt and stunt coordinator Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, joined a SAG-AFTRA rally in Atlanta, Georgia and donned a suit and a punch sign to close a rally in which stuntmen spoke about the importance of a new, fair contract. Most importantly, Massa’s stunt was performed safely with a fire crew and special protective materials – fire stunts are extremely dangerous.
The actors have been on strike since July 14 after the parties’ previous contract expired. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is also on strike and is negotiating a new contract with AMPTP.
Stunt actors, like conventional writers and actors, are on strike until their respective unions negotiate new contracts with the AMPTP, which represents the major film and television studios. Both writers and actors are demanding fair wages based on streaming profits and protection against the use of artificial intelligence, among other issues. For stunt actors specifically, SAG-AFTRA is asking studios to pay back wages to stunt coordinators and pay overtime to stunt coordinators on a “so-called ‘flat deal'” to compensate for “abusive long hours on set.”
“AMPTP is against us sharing the rewards of a successful show because we bear none of the risks,” Elena Sanchez, a stunt actress who has appeared in movies and shows like. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Spider-Man: No Way HomeAND The walking dead, among others, said during the event and as reported by Atlanta News First. “Tell that to my friend John, who lost his life working on one of your TV shows. Tell that to every one of us who literally broke bones and bled for you.”
Sanchez is referring to stunt performer John Bernecker, who died in 2017 during filming. The walking dead. That same year, stuntwoman Joi Harris died on set Deadpool 2.
SAG-AFTRA actors will remain on strike under an agreement to be reached with studios represented by AMPTP. The WGA, on strike since May, is also in negotiations for a new deal. It’s the first time both the WGA and SAG have been on strike simultaneously since 1960, and a major worker action that comes during some big years for the union movement.