Zaslav was first announced as a speaker for the ceremony earlier in the month, and the WGA said they would be picketing the ceremony. Previously, they called his appearance a “poor decision” on the part of the university, adding that the institution “should not give voice to someone who wants to destroy their students ability to build a career in the film and television industry.” Zaslav tried to just power through his speech and impart advice on the new graduates, but that didn’t really work. The parts of his speech he was able to belt out only irritated graduates even further:

“Some people will be looking for a fight. [...] You can’t choose the people you work with. Figure out what you like about a person there’s always something and do what it takes to navigate their challenges. We all have them.”


In the early days of the Writers Strike, Zaslav told CNBC that he believed it would end once the writers realized how much they loved working. That comment went over about as well as you’d expect, but it’s not like he hadn’t already dug himself a hole to begin with. Between a reported $35 million salary and canceling various movies and TV shows to save money (to say nothing of straight up deleting others for the same reason), the WB Discovery CEO isn’t anybody’s friend at the moment. And it should be like this for CEOs of every studio until they pay writers, actors, directors, and everyone in the entertainment industry the living wages they’ve needed for years.

In a statement released to THR after the ceremony, Zaslav wrote that he was “immensely supportive of writers, and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognizes their value.”


Update: This post has added some extra information regarding Zaslav’s appearance at Boston University, along with a statement regarding the Writers Strike that he released to the Hollywood Reporter.

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