Fran Drescher warns ‘AI will entrap us in a matrix’ during remarks at SAG Awards

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher delivered an impassioned speech at the 30th Screen Actors Guild Awards, held Saturday at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium. The awards show, which streamed live on Netflix, is the first edition of the ceremony since SAG-AFTRA reached a deal with the major studios to end their historic strike and ratified a new contract. Read her full speech below.

Thank you so much. I want to gratefully acknowledge the WGA, the DGA, IATSE, AFM, Teamsters and Basic Crafts for helping make this night a success. Thank you to the hardest-working guy in show business, our SAG-AFTRA executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. And especially a big thanks to Netflix for inviting the SAG Awards to their platform, so this event can be viewed all over the world including my parents’ condo in South Florida.

But most important, congratulations to all the members, both here today and everywhere. I hold you all with the highest esteem and greatest respect, for you are the champions. You survived the longest strike in our union’s history with courage and conviction. The journey was arduous. It came with great sacrifice and unrelenting stress, your collective dignity and perseverance to stand up and say, ‘We deserve better because we are better’ resulted in a historic billion-dollar deal.

Your solidarity ignited workers around the world, triggering what forever will be remembered as the ‘hot labor summer.’ You took the hero’s journey and stood at the front lines, strike captains led the march on the picket lines, and we all showed up to the rallies because you understood what our massive contribution means to this marvelous industry.

And now here we stand, tall and proud. This was a seminal moment in our union’s history that has set the trajectory for many generations to come. Not afraid but brave, not weak but empowered, not peons but partners.

During the fight for a better TV theatrical contract, global ideas emerged. AI will entrap us in a matrix where none of us know what’s real. If an inventor lacks empathy and spirituality, perhaps that’s not the invention we need. Dystopia stories can also become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We should tell stories that spark the human spirit, connect us to the natural world and awaken our capacity to love unconditionally.

What does female leadership look like to women and girls? We don’t have to emulate male energy, but rather lead with intellect, compassion, wisdom — and still rock a red lip.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the frame when you’re in the picture. But a renaissance can happen. We each can work to develop empathy within ourselves. Collectively, the paradigm will shift toward peace and harmony. All of us hold in our hearts, the gentle whisper of true love.

I am honored to be your president, as we now enter our golden age. Thank you so much.