The WGA West has reached a $5.25 million settlement with Disney for interest owed on late-paid residuals for five Fox animated series: The Simpsons, Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, American Dad! and Futurama.
The guild, which says it’s the largest interest-only settlement in its history, already has sent checks to more than 250 affected writers for their portions of the interest collected.
In 2017, a tri-guild audit conducted by the WGA West, SAG-AFTRA and the DGA revealed that Fox had failed to make certain residuals payments on these series. The WGA West said that after it contacted Fox, “the studio found that an internal error had led to a widespread failure to pay the residuals for reuse in the foreign free television markets over several years. Fox paid millions of dollars in late paid residuals to the guild in 2018, which was then distributed to the credited writers.”
The WGA said that it followed this action with a claim for the interest owed on these late payments and set the arbitration for early March 2020. “Despite some resistance from Disney, including an attempt to delay the hearing, the company ultimately agreed to pay the entire amount due and the writers received $5.25 million in interest,” the guild said, noting that it “aggressively pursues interest when writers are not paid on time.”
A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said: “SAG-AFTRA partners with the WGA and DGA on Tri-Guild matters. We applaud the WGA settlement with Disney. It highlights the importance and value of the unions’ Tri-Guild Program. SAG-AFTRA has related issues that are ongoing and being handled by counsel. Members may contact us for status updates on those matters.”