David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, was interrupted during his commencement address at Boston University over the weekend by boos.
According to TMZ, Zaslav, who spoke at BU’s 2023 graduating class’s commencement service on Sunday, faced heckling because of the ongoing writers’ strike. At the 150th commencement exercises at Nickerson Field, the Warner Bros. CEO was presented by Boston University President Robert A. Brown, and that’s when the jeers started. The shouting and boos began as soon as Brown mentioned Zaslav’s “passion for documenting and sharing the human story on a global scale,” and calls began to ebb and flow continuously throughout the remainder of his 20-minute address.
At the ceremony, which got underway at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, 7,000 degrees were awarded in close to 350 fields of study, and that featured yells, cries, and chanting from the hundreds of seniors seated. From the audience, cries like “We don’t want you here,” “Pay your writers,” and “Shut up, Zaslav” could be heard. These chants were planned for the picket and included some that were made by members of the school’s YDSA branch and students who were inspired by BU hockey chants.
The WBD CEO had to constantly pause his speech as the waves of jeers rose at one point when he made a joke about delivering counsel to kids about life. He also spoke about becoming a successful lawyer financially but not feeling fulfilled since he didn’t enjoy his work, inspiring the audience to follow their passions. He said, “I was making good money, and I was feeling really great,” to which the audience reacted with another round of agitated cries and boos.
The audience was unyielding and merciless in its reception of his tales about hard work, dealing with people, choosing compassion, and his pivot into Hollywood, even though portions of his speech focused on his work ethic and struggle to achieve happiness in his professional life as a lawyer. Additionally, there were demonstrations outside the venue, and some of the protesters even entered the gathering.
Video and pics from my IATSE friend at the BU Graduation / Zaslav picket in Boston. Big turnout with loads of different unions attending.#wga#wgaStrong#wgaStrike pic.twitter.com/qpe2KCXgAf
— Calvin Starnes (@CalvinStarnesOG) May 21, 2023
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) are demanding fair wages and a ban on Artificial Intelligence in writers rooms. The strike’s been going on for nearly 4 weeks with no end in sight.