Wil Wheaton crushes Ken Jennings for crossing the WGA picket line

Originally published at: Wil Wheaton crushes Ken Jennings for crossing the WGA picket line | Boing Boing


Man, I keep waiting for Wheaton to have his Milkshake Duck moment, and it never seems to happen.

You go, Wil.



Well done that chap.


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When your credo is “Don’t be a dick.” and you embody it on a daily basis, there’s a statistically lower chance that your milkshake will bring all the ducks to the yard.


I consider myself pro-union but have next to zero exposure to them in my professional life, so I’m admittedly confused by the proper stance for Ken Jennings here. I know other productions have continued with pre-written material during prior strikes with little to no blowback – including Jeopardy itself under Trebek. Meanwhile SAG-AFTRA has been “advis[ing] its members to continue to work” during this particular WGA strike.

I guess I’m not clear on why Ken Jennings – who isn’t a union member as far as I’ve heard – is being held to a higher standard of orthodoxy than the standard to which Wheaton’s own union is holding their members?


Yeah the fact that the union which Jennings most probably does belong to (SAG) isn’t picketing makes me wonder about all this outrage.

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It has to do with the physical presence of a picket line. If you cross one to go into the studio to work, you’re a scab.

Animators, for instance, have been told that they may refuse to cross a picket line if work is being in in a studio where WGA writers are employed and picketting, but if they are working from home, they should continue to do so, since they aren’t ‘crossing the line’.


He’s also a producer, and thus, management. That doesn’t make him a scab, it makes him on the other side of the issue.

I, myself, am in management, in a highly unionized industry (automotive). My role, by its very nature, requires I work should there be a strike (and yes, expectations were very, very, very clearly covered in my management onboarding training when I joined the company I work for). I don’t think this is as black and white as everyone wants it to be.


Again, SAG-AFTRA explicitly advises their members to cross the picket lines. Wheaton’s holding Jennings to a higher standard than that of his own union.

Now that the WGA has called a strike, am I required to show up to work? Should I refuse to cross a picket line as a SAG-AFTRA member?

If you are contracted to work on a project that continues production while the WGA is on strike, you are legally obligated to continue working…

SAG-AFTRA therefore advises its members to continue to work.

What do I do if I am both a SAG-AFTRA and WGA member and the WGA goes on strike?

If you are a member of both unions and employed under both capacities on a production, such as writer/actor, you must continue working as an actor.

They do encourage their members to support the WGA strike by joining the picket lines, but only while “off the clock”:

What can I do to support the WGA while on strike?

SAG-AFTRA encourages you to walk any picket lines that have been set up by the WGA to show your solidarity. To avoid the risk of termination or lawsuits from employers, this should be done “off the clock” and not during work time. It is acceptable and encouraged to do so during breaks, lunch, etc.


The closest we’ve apparently had is more inactivity than anything else. He used to be very vocal calling out all performers for any misconduct and essentially wanting to tar and feather them. When a Chloe Dykstra indirectly (but very obviously) alleged that Wheaton’s best friend Chris Hardwick had emotionally and sexually abused her, Wheaton was completely silent. It was not my favorite moment of his, especially after he repeatedly said to believe women.

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People are complex and complicated, and it’s possible to be friends with someone and not realize that they have a shittier side to them than you realized. I also don’t fault folks for not turning on a dime and tossing friends to curb the moment they fuck up. I think Wheaton NOT rushing out to defend Hardwick (especially right away, when folks were still trying to determine how credible Dyktra’s claims were, was about the best you can hope for.

It’s the same as every family member of every criminal caught doing something awful. “I had no idea they were capable of this. This doesn’t sound like the person I know.” Those aren’t defenses of the person, they’re defenses of themselves, and their own failure to see aberrant behavior. If Wheaton didn’t outright condemn Hardwick, he, as you pointed out, didn’t rush to his defense either. Now, that isn’t as morally upright as his actions had been in the past, but it’s different when a situation is closer to you. Wheaton, too, is a complex human being, and I’m sure had lots of conflicted emotions over the situation. A good friend turns out to be an asshole. Taking time to resolve that conflict within his own thoughts isn’t a sign of moral weakness. Just a sign that people are are multfaceted, and not all the sides are shiny.


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