Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was jeered at a recent event. He is one of many prominent figures involved in the current Writers Guild of America strike. The strike, which is impacting series and films across the industry, came about because negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a standstill on issues involving proper writer compensation (especially residuals in the streaming sector) and the use of artificial intelligence.


Related: Writers Guild Strike 2023 Explained: What It Means For Your Favorite TV Shows

Today, Zaslav gave a commencement address at the graduation ceremony for Boston University in a video that has been circulating the Internet, posted by many striking writers including Late Night with Seth MyersMike Scollins.

The video depicts Zaslav’s speech being interrupted by many members of the crowd chanting “Pay Your Writers!” At one point the chanting gets so loud that it interrupts his speech for a full five seconds.

How David Zaslav Became a Lightning Rod of Controversy

David Zaslav and the DC Universe custom image

Before last year, Zaslav was hardly a household name. Before his current position, he was an executive and board member with various companies including NBCUniversal and Sirius XM. However, it wasn’t until he spearheaded the Warner Bros. Discovery merger and became CEO of the new company that he became more widely known, largely due to his controversial decision-making.

Under his new regime, the restructuring of the HBO Max streaming service (which has since been rebranded as Max) drew derision from across the industry. Most notably, the upcoming DC Universe film Batgirl was canceled while in post-production. However, quite a few other shows and films were canceled, had development halted, or quietly vanished from the platform in the wake of the merger.

Since then, ​​​​​​​David Zaslav has become the face of every new controversial HBO announcement, doubling down with widely derided statements about his intentions with the company including a more “both sides” oriented content policy. From the cancelation of Westworld to the announcement of a Harry Potter reboot series with the involvement of J.K. Rowling, the CEO’s reputation has taken numerous hits. All of this, alongside the anger stirred up by the AMPTP during the ongoing strike, made the reaction at his commencement address feel more or less inevitable.

Source: @mikescollins/Twitter

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