Drew Barrymore has responded to the ongoing backlash surrounding the return of her eponymous chat show in an emotional Instagram video.
Last week (September 6), CBS confirmed that The Drew Barrymore Show will return to screens with season four on September 18.
The Charlie's Angels actress shared a statement in a since-deleted Instagram post on Sunday (September 10), defending her decision to return to the show despite the ongoing WAG and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Her response was met with wide spread criticism for undermining the strikes and the unions. The backlash led to Barrymore being dropped as the host of the annual National Book Awards in November.
On Friday (September 16), Barrymore posted a follow-up, since deleted video on Instagram further addressing the show backlash.
"I believe there is nothing I can do or say in this moment to make it okay," Barrymore said, adding that she wanted to own the decision and take full responsibility.
"I know there’s nothing I can do that will make this okay for those it is not okay with. I fully accept that, I fully understand that," she said, adding: "I just want everyone to know my intentions have never been in a place to upset or hurt anyone. That’s not who I am. I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my life, and this is one of them."
Barrymore then gave a personal apology to those currently involved in the strikes. "I deeply apologise to writers, I deeply apologise to unions, I deeply apologise…," she said, before finding herself lost for words.
"All I can say is that I wanted to accept responsibility. And no, I don’t have a PR machine behind this."
Barrymore said that her decision to return to the show was publicly shared as she "didn’t want to hide behind people", adding that she wanted to "be responsible".
She continued: "Why am I doing this? Well, I certainly couldn’t have expected this kind of attention. We aren’t going to break rules and we will be in compliance. I wanted to do this because, as I said, this is bigger than me and there are other people’s jobs on the line."
The Drew Barrymore show first aired in September 2020. The actress and talk show host finished her emotional address by reflecting on the show's inception and purpose.
"Since launching live in a pandemic, I just wanted to make a show that was there for people in sensitive times. I weighed the scales and I thought, if we could go on during a global pandemic, and everything the world has experienced through 2020, why would this sideline us?"
Barrymore added that she wanted to make a show that is "there for people, regardless of anything else that’s happening in the world".
However, this wasn't enough to hinder the criticism, with Will and Grace actress Debra Messing being one of many to respond and disagree to the since-deleted video. In the comment section of the original post, she wrote: "You can choose now to halt production. You can choose to pay your employees like other talk show hosts who have stood in solidarity with the writers.
"There are thousands of union members jobs and livelihoods that are at stake (exponential more than those who work on your show) and the future of our beloved industry. I hope you will reconsider."
The Writers' Guild of America also issued a statement addressing Barrymore's video response. "Drew Barrymore should not be on the air while her writers are on strike fighting for a fair deal," they told Deadline. "In reality, shows like this cannot operate without writing, and that is struck work."
The Drew Barrymore Show airs on CBS in the United States.
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