Striking WGA Writers Slam Bill Maher for 'Real Time' Return

WGA negotiating committee member Greg Iwinski rips the comedian/political commentator, who recently announced that his late-night talk show would resume filming sans its writers.

AceShowbiz - Bill Maher gets a lot of flak after announcing the return of his late-night talk show "Real Time with Bill Maher" amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. Among the critics is WGA negotiating committee member Greg Iwinski, who ripped the comedian/political commentator in a new interview.

"I don't think Bill Maher has any kind of economic pressure like I have and I have not seen him pay his crews, give his crews money, take care of their rent, take care of their groceries," Greg said on "TMZ Live" when asked about the financial struggle that other staff members face amid the strike. "But Writers Guild along with SAG are doing delivery dropoffs, giving out groceries card, showrunners collected $40,000 of groceries gift cards last week to hand out to not just writers or actors, anyone affected by the strike."

He continued, "We are helping people get on unemployment, helping people make those ends meet because we understand that this is painful. … We are helping them right now to give them material help to get through this strike." He then challenged, "I would love to see Bill or any of the studios step up and meet us there."

In a statement, meanwhile, WGA ripped Bill for his decision to resume filming for "Real Time with Bill Maher" without his writers, making it the first late-night show to return on air amid the strike. "Bill Maher's decision to go back on air while his Guild is on strike is disappointing. If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than 'the spirit of the strike,' " the statement read. "Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services."

"It is difficult to imagine how 'Real Time with Bill Maher' can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show," it concluded.

Bill announced his controversial decision on Wednesday, September 13. "The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns. Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily," Bill explained on Instagram.

He added, "We all were hopeful this would come to an end after Labor Day, but that day has come and gone, and there still seems to be nothing happening. I love my writers, I am one of them, but I'm not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much. I will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial, the written pieces that I am so proud of on Real Time."

"And I'll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bulls**t and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint," Bill concluded.

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