David Zaslav received boos and angry cheers from students after he took the stage at Boston University on Sunday to receive his honorary doctorate and deliver the 2023 commencement speech.
These cries already started during the presentation of the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery by BU President Robert A. Brown during the 150th kickoff practice at Nickerson Field. As Brown spoke of Zaslav’s “passion for documenting and sharing the human story on a global scale,” cheers and boos immediately spread, followed by what would become a steady ebb and flow of phone calls during his 20-minute speech.
That included screams, shouts and cheers from hundreds of sitting seniors as 7,000 scores were awarded in nearly 350 study areas on Sunday during the event, which began at 1 p.m. ET. “We don’t want you here”, “Pay for your book” and “Shut up, Zaslav” can be heard from the audience, messages similar to Stomach cheers for protests, including some made by members of the school’s YDSA chapter and schoolchildren who were inspired by BU hockey cheers.
At one point, while the CEO of WBD was joking about giving life advice to students, he got more boos and had to interrupt his speech over and over until the waves of tears subsided temporarily. He also discussed finding financial success as a lawyer, but felt dissatisfied because he didn’t like what he was doing, which encouraged the public to follow their passions. But when he said, “I made good money, I felt really great,” the audience responded with another wave of angry cheers and oops.
While parts of his speech focused on work ethic and the struggle to find happiness in his law career, the crowd was relentless and relentless in its reception of his stories of hard work, working with people, choosing kindness and his Hollywood pivot.
“Some people are going to pick a fight,” Zaslav told Boston University students midway through the speech, with a mixture of boos and cheers. “But don’t be the person they find it with. Focus on the qualities of good people. In my career, I’ve seen many talented people miss out on opportunities or jobs because they don’t get along with other people.” “You can’t choose the people you work with. Find out what you like about a person – there is always something – and do whatever it takes to overcome the challenges. We have them all.”
This feeling caused an audible commotion, with some students laughing while others kept screaming or even shocked.
Zaslav said in a statement to Hollywood reporter. “As I have said repeatedly, I am very supportive of the writers and I hope the strike can be resolved quickly and in a way that they feel recognizes their value.”
Students from Boston University’s School of Communication, which also hosts the film and television program, and from the College of Fine Arts and some enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences were among those who showed interest or were expected to participate to participate in the ceremony in protest, according to Vanessa Bartlett, a senior who helped kick-start the event. Student-led writers strike at a solidarity event at Nickerson Field.
“I’m in the same college as a bunch of kids from film and television,” said Bartlett, who studied political science and journalism and was one of those who created the official cheer for the day. Hollywood reporter for the event. “I am friends with many people from the College of Fine Arts, people who are in theater arts training, so the feeling of togetherness is very important to me.”
Outside the opening ceremony, detainees had been walking along Commonwealth Avenue near Harry Agnes Road since 11:30 am. Both inaugural events were chaired and led by Boston University’s YDSA group, with outdoor sit-down support and coordination with WGA East, Boston DSA, and DSA-LA Hollywood.
This sit-in, which has reportedly been confirmed, had about 350 in attendance according to one person which engaged in event check-in also received support from unions and groups in Boston’s Hollywood and non-Hollywood. They included members of the BU Graduate Workers Union and the Resident Assistants Union, as well as IASTE, SAG-AFTRA, SEUI, IUPAT and the Hospitality Union. Boston room 26, and Local 537 and UA Local 447, which support plumbers, pipe fitters, refrigeration installers, and service technicians. The Greater Boston Labor Council, some local professors, and parents of alumni also joined the line.
In addition, protesters were seen gathering around Rich Hall, where loudspeakers, including Zaslav, were lowered. The area was filled not only with demonstrators greeting WBD’s CEO as he took the field, but also with a giant inflatable Scabby the Rat, which was brought to the event by IUPAT members.
Before Zaslav took the stage, he was banner plane The message “David Zaslav Pay Your Writers” can also be seen flying over picket and kickoff practices at Nickerson Field.
Prior to the start, the WGA shared a statement on Twitter, explaining that the intention of the solidarity event was not to disrupt graduating seniors. “The picket is in no way intended to prevent students, families or teachers from attending the graduation ceremony or disrupt the ceremony.” WGA East tweeted. The toolkit provides context for the sit-down and ideas in support of the Writers’ Silent Strike. Thanks for the solidarity.
When Boston University confirmed that Zaslav would deliver the opening address at the graduation ceremony on May 11, despite the ongoing writers’ strike, the Writers Guild officially announced that it would host the strike at the ceremony. “Boston University should not give voice to anyone who wants to destroy its students’ ability to build careers in the film and television industry,” the union said in a statement at the time.
In an earlier statement, the WGA called the decision to choose Zaslav as one of the school’s launch speakers a “bad decision,” noting that both Boston union members and students participating in the university’s film and television program , “profoundness”. disappointment” about her selection to reward the CEO of an undergraduate platform.
“With Zaslav overseeing the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, it becomes much clearer to the people whose financial interests it serves, who they’re looking for, and the writers have been absolutely right that it’s not them,” said Ryan Black, a member of the Boston Coordination Committee. DSA and one of the organizers THR Before the Solidarity event on Sunday. “I think that’s what made it a magnet — especially given the writers’ strike — of outrage over these kinds of protests.”