Drew Barrymore learned the hard way on Tuesday that writers stick together, whether they’re penning books or TV shows.
The actress-turned-talk show host, who was slated to host the National Book Awards in November, has been uninvited to the event by the National Book Foundation, which puts on the annual event, one of the biggest honors in publishing.
The reason? Barrymore crossed the picket line in the ongoing writers strike, incensing both the striking Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which is also on strike. Though she didn’t technically violate the SAG-AFTRA strike, since talk shows are covered under a separate contract, her show does have three WGA members on strike. And that didn’t sit well with either the authors being honored or the organization holding the celebration.
“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the National Book Foundation, which presents the award, said in a statement Tuesday. “In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”
A Lengthening Strike
Barrymore was tapped to host the awards, which take place in November, earlier this summer. Her syndicated talk show is slated to return to the airwaves for its fourth season on Monday.
The former child actress, who became a rom-com star and has drawn kudos for her seemingly relatable bubbly talk show personality, posted on Instagram Sunday that she had decided to return to the air amid the strike.
“We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind,” said her post. “We launched live in a global pandemic. Our show was built for sensitive times and has only functioned through what the real world is going through in real time. I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.”
It seemed a surprising decision considering Barrymore had pulled out of hosting the MTV Movie & TV Awards earlier this year because of the strike. Addressing her earlier decision, Barrymore wrote, “I did what I thought was the appropriate thing at the time to stand in solidarity with the writers.”
Barrymore’s show had not taped since the strike began. Many other programs have gone off the air during the strike, causing financial problems for crew members suddenly out of work. Several late-night talk show hosts began airing a podcast recently to generate money to give to their crews.
Writers Stand With Other Writers
Pressure had been mounting on the National Book Foundation to rescind its invitation since Barrymore’s announcement. One of the nation’s most decorated and respected writers, Colson Whitehead, threw some shade at the host on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Bestselling romance writer Courtney Milan tweeted her appreciation for the decision.