Ice-T Spells Out What The Writer’s Strike Is (And Isn’t)


“We have to stand with the writers,” he tells AllHipHop matter-of-factly. “SAG is on strike, the actors went on strike, so we’re all on strike.”

Ice-T has appeared on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as Detective Odafin Tutuola for more than two decades. To say he’s a seasoned actor would be an understatement. Naturally, the ongoing Writer’s Guild of America strike that’s crippled Hollywood since May has had an impact on the Dick Wolf production.

The long-running crime series, which is filmed in New York City, was supposed to be back in production after the Fourth of July. But, as Ice-T explains to AllHipHop, that all changed as the strike dragged on into its second month and SAG-AFTRA joined the fight.

“We have to stand with the writers,” he tells AllHipHop matter-of-factly. “SAG is on strike, the actors went on strike, so we’re all on strike. What it is really is technology, and there’s a lot of things that aren’t in the contracts that we signed that they’re dealing with.”


Ice-T compares it to music streaming. When he signed with Warner Brothers in the early ’90s, he suggests things would’ve gone differently had his terms been more convoluted.

“Let’s just say hypothetically I agree to let Warner Brothers sell my album and they were going to sell my album for $1 a record,” he continues. “I’m just making up numbers. I never agreed on Spotify. I never agreed to that. There was no verbiage in the contract that said you can sell or play my record and people would pay. That’s basically what’s going on with writing. We didn’t talk about streaming. We didn’t talk about AI. We didn’t talk about that. So, it’s just a bunch of s### and they don’t want to talk about it.”

On July 14, Ice-T addressed some of the critics of the strike, who fail to grasp how complicated it actually is. Many assume everyone who works in the entertainment industry is rolling around in luxury cars, traveling the world and dressed in designer duds—but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“When you say writer’s strike or SAG strike, people think everybody in Hollywood is rich,” he explains. “You’re in the entertainment business. You’re a writer. You’re not rich. But because you work amongst celebrities, people assume the whole industry is rich. If you look at Hollywood, it’s less than one percent movie stars. If that wasn’t the case, a red carpet at the Oscars would last nine hours. You can count the stars.

“This strike won’t affect them, and it won’t really affect me. Even though Law & Order isn’t filming and we may not film until December, I got money in the bank. I’m OK. I’ll survive, but my production assistant won’t survive, the camera guys may not survive, hair and makeup won’t survive, the truck drivers won’t survive. It’s going to affect the small people and that’s the part people don’t get. It’s a huge industry.”

Ice-T, who’s always been confident in who he is, won’t tolerate anyone trolling him on Twitter or arguing with him about the facts of the strike. In fact, he let actress Leslie Jones do some of talking in one of his latest posts.

“Leslie just let them have it,” he says. “Don’t come on my page with that bull####. This is not about me. Like I said, don’t worry about me, worry about earthquakes. A long time ago, my accountant told me, he says ‘You’re broke if you cannot stop working for a year and survive.’ He says, ‘If you have so much overhead that if you can’t work for a month or two, you’re gonna go and start selling s###, then you’re living beyond your means.’

“So I can just pivot and go out on tour. I got other jobs, but everybody doesn’t. So we’re standing with them. Stop worrying about the movie stars. This will not affect the movie stars, but it will affect the movie business.”

Like many others, Ice-T was shocked to see a Deadline article that quoted a studio exec as saying, “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.” Another reportedly said it was a “a cruel but necessary evil.”

“This whole industry is shut down right now and it’s gonna hurt people,” Ice-T adds. “And the cold thing is the executives come back and say, ‘We’re gonna wait on the people to lose their houses.’ I’m like, ‘Wow.’ It’s AI, and AI is a motherf###er and it’s out to take everybody’s job. It is a historical time, but I wasn’t expecting it. The writer’s strike happened, but Law & Order just happened to be on hiatus.

“But it would’ve been back right after the Fourth of July, but now it’s not. I talked to Mariska [Hargitay] like, ‘Oh s###. We gotta find some more jobs.’ I gotta get back to my landscaping business and cut some trees [laughs]. Really, I just don’t want it to look like anybody’s crying. Nobody’s crying—not during the strike. During the strike, you’re just saying, ‘Hey man, give me what I deserve and stop playing.'”

Check back with AllHipHop soon for Part II of the Ice-T interview.