“Abbott Elementary” star William Stanford Davis joined the choir of actors Friday offering a firsthand look at real residual checks he has received as a working actor. The act was meant to emphasize one of the main issues that led to the SAG-AFTRA strike earlier this month: minuscule residual payments in the age of streaming.
In the video, Davis revealed a pair of real residual checks worth mere pennies: 3 cents and 5 cents.
“I want to give you an example of what a residual check looks like,” Stanford said in a video circulating TikTok and Twitter, raising the 3-cent check to the camera. “I showed this to my brother, and he fell on the floor laughing. It ain’t f–king funny.”
Standford declined in the video to reveal who produced the project that led to such a small check — “I can’t tell you who these cheap motherf–kers are,” he said, mouthing the expletive. But he did say that he’s “standing in solidarity with the writers, and we’re going to be on strike until we get what we need to make a living.”
In a second video posted to his Instagram account, the actor showed a check for 5 cents. “I’ve been a screen actor for 35 years. I’ve been in the guild about 32 years and I’ll let this speak for itself,” he said, raising the slip of paper to the camera.
“The postage, the paper, everything costs more than that. That’s what they think of us as actors,” he said. “This is why we’re on strike from better wages, for better residuals [and] for a piece of the subscription and to not give in to AI.”
The “Abbott Elementary” actor is not the only one who has shared appalling residual checks in recent days. On July 17, WGA captain Caroline Renard shared a video of “P-Valley” star Brandee Evans in which Evans revealed that her third residual check for the series amounted to 1 cent. The actress appeared in 17 of 18 episodes of the Starz original series.
“Orange is the New Black” star Kimiko Glenn, who appeared in 44 episodes of the enormously popular series, shared that she was paid $27.30.
“This Is Us” matriarch Mandy Moore is another star who has spoken out about her own residuals. Moore said that her checks for the series were “tiny, like 81-cent checks” and wrote on Instagram, “Ours is a fickle industry and in my 20+ years of being a performer, my career has ebbed and flowed.”
Moore continued, “I’ve had very lean years where I couldn’t get a job, and those are precisely the moments when in years past, actors could rely on residuals from their past work to help them get by.”