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Writers Guild plans to picket BU graduation on May 21; protest Hollywood exec’s commencement speech

The Writers Guild of America, whose members are on strike, plans to set up a picket line at Boston University’s commencement, where David Zaslav, president and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, will be the speaker, a spokesman said.

Jason Gordon, director of communications for the Writers Guild of America, East, confirmed Thursday that a protest is planned at the May 21 commencement at Nickerson Field.

“With the support of Boston University students, New England-based WGA members, as well as other regional unions and community groups, the Writers Guild of America announced it will picket Warner Bros. Discovery President & CEO David Zaslav at Boston University’s 150th All-Student Commencement Exercises,” the union said in a statement Thursday.


Commencement festivities are slated for 1 p.m.

More than 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America, or WGA, stopped working last week in the first Hollywood strike in 15 years. Writers are protesting for better pay and job security, among other demands.

Critics argue Zaslav, who claimed almost $250 million in “excess pay” in 2022, epitomizes the vast pay disparity between writers and executives in Hollywood.

“Right now, 11,500 WGA members across the country are on strike because companies — including Warner Bros. Discovery — refuse to negotiate a fair contract that addresses writers’ reasonable demands around pay, residuals, and the existential threat that AI poses to workers,” the WGAE statement said. “It is shameful that, in the midst of an action to preserve the future of work, Boston University would use a graduation ceremony to honor someone who is intent on destroying students’ prospects for building sustainable careers.”

BU spokesman Colin Riley said Thursday that the university had no comment and there was no change in plans for the commencement.

Globe correspondent Sonel Cutler contributed to this report. Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Martin Finucane can be reached at