Drew Barrymore has responded to the the backlash that erupted when she confirmed that her daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, will return to air without its three unionized writers.
“I know there’s nothing I can do that will make this OK for those it is not OK with,” Barrymore said in a video posted to her Instagram Friday afternoon. “I fully accept that. I fully understand that.”
While the actress said she “deeply apologize[s]” for her decision, she appears to remain steadfast in bringing the show back to air.
“There’s a huge question of the ‘why,’” Barrymore said. “Why am I doing this? 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.”
Most daytime talk shows have remained dark during the Writers Guild of America strike, which began on May 1—although at this point, a few others, including The Talk, The Jennifer Hudson Show, and Sherri are all reportedly eyeing their returns as well. As Barrymore pointed out in a statement earlier this week, The Drew Barrymore Show’s third season wrapped on April 20, before the strike began. Still, her decision to bow out of hosting MTV’s Movie & TV Awards ceremony earlier this spring in deference to the strike made this week’s news all the more surprising.
That might at least partially explain why the reaction to the news has been so strong, both within and outside the industry.
Speaking with The Daily Beast, Drew Barrymore co-head writer Cristina Kinon said that on a personal level, “everybody has to make the best decision for themselves. I know that this show has a crew of hundreds of people who need to be paid, and I understand the perspective of wanting to protect your cast, your crew, and your staff.”
At the same time, Kinon added, she and her colleagues are standing with a union whose membership includes tens of thousands. “And then, expanding out more, we’re standing with all of labor and all of the unions across the world, because that is how it works. Unions only work when you stick together with unions across the labor spectrum.”
In her video statement on Friday, Barrymore said that she and her show face a complex situation, and that she wants “everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone. It’s not who I am. I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them. I deeply apologize to writers. I deeply apologize to unions. I deeply apologize.”
In making her decision, Barrymore added, she ultimately “weighed the scales and I thought, if we could go on during the global pandemic and everything that the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?”
Speaking with The Daily Beast, former Drew Barrymore co-head writer Jordan Carlos pointed out that the show’s writers showed up to work in person during the pandemic, at the risk of their own healths. “I don’t think this is an adequate repayment of their time and services,” Carlos said.
Nevertheless, Barrymore said Friday that she wants “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.”