The Drew Barrymore Show was already in hot water when it returned to work on Monday, September 11, amid the WGA writers’ strike, which has been ongoing since May 2. Things got worse for the daytime talk show after two audience members revealed they were kicked out of the New York City studio for wearing WGA pins. Now, a spokesperson for The Drew Barrymore Show has issued a statement admitting the pair was asked to leave, adding that Drew Barrymore herself was not aware of the ordeal.
Barrymore caused controversy on Sunday, September 10, by announcing her talk show would return for Season 4 on September 18. Since the show is a struck production for WGA members, the return is a direct violation of the strike rules. Anyone who writes for the show in the striking writers’ absence will be considered scabs and will be barred from gaining WGA membership in the future.
As long as the show doesn’t promote any struck TV or film studio, which Barrymore said it won’t in her lengthy Instagram post, the talk show won’t be violating SAG-AFTRA strike rules. (SAG-AFTRA said in a statement, per Variety: “‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ is produced under the Network Television Code which is a separate contract and is not struck. It is permissible work and Drew’s role as host does not violate the current strike rules.”)
The WGA began picketing outside of CBS Studios (where Drew films) around 6:30 a.m. ET on Monday, September 11, in response to Barrymore’s announcement. Some of the show’s own writers joined the picket line (see here and here). Dominic Turiczek had won tickets to attend a taping of The Drew Barrymore Show today, September 11, but was kicked out of the studio along with friend Cassidy Carder for wearing a WGA strike pin.
“Went to @DrewBarrymoreTV after winning tickets, unaware of the #WGA strike,” Turiczek posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “We took pins & went in, got kicked out, & verbally assaulted by @DrewBarrymore ’s crew. It’s clear they don’t support #WGAStrong, writers or fans! #DrewTheRightThing So we took shirts and joined. F**k that.”
“We knew about the #WGA strike, just not that they were picketing at Drew’s show,” the post continued. “We were unaware until inside, that her show had WGA writers, thus crossing picket lines by starting again. We won the tickets last minute and didn’t do enough research, clearly.”
A spokesperson for the show acknowledged the pair were denied seats in the audience, saying they were removed due to “heightened security concerns.”
“It is our policy to welcome everyone to our show tapings,” the spokesperson told Variety. “Due to heightened security concerns today, we regret that two audience members were not permitted to attend or were not allowed access. Drew was completely unaware of the incident and we are in the process of reaching out to the affected audience members to offer them new tickets.”
Turiczek and Carder told Deadline they are no longer interested in attending a show taping after this experience. It doesn’t seem the pair performed any kind of protest beyond wearing the WGA strike pins. They said they had signed the standard audience waiver required by anyone attending a show taping and were on their way to use the bathrooms when a security officer said, “you’re out.” They subsequently joined the picket line.