The Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav was heckled by Boston University graduates over the ongoing writers’ strike during his commencement speech.
The former Discovery head spoke to the graduating class of 2023 ahead of receiving an honorary degree at the university. Several students, however, took issue with his appearance in the midst of a massive Hollywood writers’ strike and continued to boo him throughout the speech, reports foxnews.com.
“You wanna be successful, you’re gonna have to figure out how to get along with everyone, and that includes difficult people. Some people-” Zaslav paused as chants interrupted him.
“Some people will be looking for a fight, but don’t be the one they fight it with. Focus on good people’s qualities.”
He continued: “In my career, I’ve seen so many talented people lose opportunities or jobs because they couldn’t get along with others. You can’t choose the people you work with. Figure out what you like about a person – there’s always something – and do whatever it takes to navigate their challenges. We all have them.”
Throughout the speech, students could be heard chanting “pay your writers!” and “shut up, Zaslav!”
The Writers’ Guild of America (WGA) strike officially began on May 2, 2023 halting several TV and film productions with no clear end in sight. Zaslav was invited to speak at the Boston University nine days later on May 11, 2023 to the dismay of the WGA.
“Boston University should not give voice to someone who wants to destroy their students’ ability to build a career in the film and television industry,” the WGA said in a statement.
A picket was also formed outside the building, offering signs and slogans for students to verbally or silently protest Zaslav during his speech.
Despite the animosity from the students, Zaslav expressed gratitude for the experience and voiced support for Hollywood writers.
“I am grateful to my alma mater, Boston University, for inviting me to be part of today’s commencement and for giving me an honorary degree. As I have often said, I am immensely supportive of writers and hope the strike is resolved soon and in a way that they feel recognises their value,” Zaslav told the Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
Zaslav was previously blasted for some of his decisions made as CEO such as massive cost-saving cuts in film and television production that shelved or canceled several projects.