Coronavirus: Entertainment industry workers are hurting. How they can get help

Coronavirus: Entertainment industry workers are hurting. How they can get help

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a wave of shutdowns across the entertainment industry, from film shoots to concerts and music festivals.

Many crew members, assistants and other workers who have been living from paycheck to paycheck now are dealing with the fallout, as more than 100,000 workers in the entertainment industry are now out of a job.

“We are seeing many, many people in a desperate situation; the emails we are seeing are absolutely heartbreaking,” said Todd Vradenburg, executive director of Will Rogers Pioneers Assistance Fund, which helps workers in the motion picture business. “We are going to provide a little bit of relief to as many people as we possibly can.”

The Pioneers Assistance Fund is among many nonprofit groups, unions, businesses and individuals who’ve stepped up to assist those hardest hit by the crisis.

Here’s where to get help:

#PayUpHollywood, a group that has been advocating for the rights of assistants, along with several leading TV writers and others, has raised more than $500,000 on GoFundMe for up to 800 Los Angeles-based support staff affected by production shutdowns. Those facing wage losses caused by production cancellations can receive payouts of $600 to $1,050. For more information contact: TheMotion Picture and Television Fund offers a variety of services to provide emotional and financial assistance to qualified industry members. MPTF President and CEO Bob Beitcher said the group’s intake line is four times busier than usual. “The calls are mainly focused ... around health insurance, around strategies for dealing with banks on mortgages and auto payments, landlords, utility companies, credit card companies,” Beitcher said. “There is high anxiety.” Beitcher said the fund is ready to help those in the industry in need of medical, financial and emotional assistance. For further information visit or call 323-634-3888. The Actors Fund, which assists actors, performers and film crew workers, is offering emergency financial assistance to individuals with immediate financial needs. Those unable to pay their basic living expenses such as food, housing and healthcare over the next two months can seek help through the group’s website. For applications go to The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees offers members resources and information on health plan waivers for testing for COVID-19. The union donated $2.5 million to three entertainment charities, including the Actors Fund. It is also working with employers on emergency measures and lobbying the federal government to ensure that displaced entertainment workers are included in relief efforts. IATSE members should visit the website for further details.
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