Drew Barrymore dropped as National Book Awards host after writers strike pushback

NEW YORK — Drew Barrymore was dropped as host of the National Book Awards on Tuesday after the actress was criticized for resuming her daytime talk show despite a strike by television writers.

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The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards each year, said in a statement that its decision was meant to “ensure that the focus of the awards remains on celebrating writers and books,” The New York Times reported.

“The National Book Awards is an evening dedicated to celebrating the power of literature, and the incomparable contributions of writers to our culture,” the National Book Foundation, which presents the award, said in a statement Tuesday. “In light of the announcement that ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ will resume production, the National Book Foundation has rescinded Ms. Barrymore’s invitation to host the 74th National Book Awards Ceremony.”

The awards event is scheduled for Nov. 15, the Times reported.

On Monday, union members of the Writers Guild of America, along with striking actors, picketed outside the CBS studios in New York City where “The Drew Barrymore Show,” was resuming filming for the first time since April, according to the newspaper. Barrymore’s show employs at least three writers who are members of the writers guild, The Associated Press reported.

The network said that the show would be returning on Sept. 18 without written material that is “covered by the WGA strike,” the Times reported. That is a similar approach taken by “The View,” which began airing episodes from its new season this month.

The WGA, which represents 11,000 writers in television, movies and other creative media, has been on strike since May, “Today” reported. The striking writers have demanded fairer pay and clearer provisions in their contracts concerning artificial intelligence, according to the news outlet.

SAG-AFTRA, a guild representing more than 160,000 actors and others in the entertainment industry, went on strike in July, “Today” reported.

“The only people I know for sure that are not going back are us three WGA writers. And the rest, I can’t really speak for,” Chelsea White, one of the show’s writers, told the AP while walking the picket line. “I think first and foremost, this is obviously way bigger than just ‘The Drew Barrymore Show’ and writers. We are out here standing with our union and feeling great and excited always to stand with our union.”

Barrymore was criticized by the guild and by authors Colson Whitehead and Alexander Chee for crossing the picket line, according to the news organization.

Barrymore stepped down as the host of the MTV Movie and TV Awards in May to show solidarity with the striking Hollywood writers, the AP reported. She defended her show’s return in an Instagram post, writing that “I want to be there to provide what writers do so well, which is a way to bring us together or help us make sense of the human experience.”

“I own this choice,” Barrymore continued. “We are in compliance with not discussing or promoting film and television that is struck of any kind.

Representatives for Barrymore and her show did not respond to requests for comment, according to the Times.

“Our commitment is to ensure that the focus of the Awards remains on celebrating writers and books, and we are grateful to Ms. Barrymore and her team for their understanding in this situation,” the National Book Foundation said in its statement.