Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav Got Booed By Boston University Graduates Amid Writers’ Strike
Last week, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav gave a commencement speech at Boston University and wished their 2023 graduates the best of luck. Now, David graduated from Boston University, so he probably thought he was going to get embraced with a bunch of “welcome backs,” but instead, he got hit with a wave of BOOS. In the wake of the ongoing writers’ strike over ongoing labor disputes between Hollywood’s writers vs. big studios and streamers (i.e. Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros.), Boston University’s class of 2023 put the BU alum on blast during his speech by collectively chanting, “pay your writers!” While they were at it, they should’ve followed up with, “And fuck you for trying to make ‘Max‘ happen!“
Boston University got an ear-full of backlash earlier this month when a day after the Writers Guild of America went on strike, the school announced its decision to have David Zaslav be this year’s commencement speaker. The school clearly booked him before the writers’ strike sounded off, and while I’d like to think they scrambled during the next few weeks to replace him with some other accomplished, less polarizing rich person-but BU’s president Robert Brown doubled down in an email, saying that David’s “accomplishments are worthy of our recognition.”
The students had no intention of welcoming one of the highest-earning film and television executives- so the event quickly went from a day of holding a degree to holding up the finger to Zaslav, who was booed throughout his speech as described by the Hollywood Reporter:
That included screams, shouts and chants from the hundreds of seniors seated as 7,000 degrees were conferred in nearly 350 fields of study Sunday at the event, which started at 1 p.m. ET. “We don’t want you here,” “Pay your writers” and “Shut up, Zaslav” could be heard emanating from the crowd, messages similar to the prepared chants for the picket, including some created by the school’s YDSA chapter members and school students who were inspired by BU hockey chants.
At one point, as the WBD CEO joked about giving students life advice, he garnered even more boos and had to repeatedly stop his speech until the waves of cries temporarily died down. He also discussed finding financial success as a lawyer but not feeling fulfilled because he didn’t love what he was doing, encouraging the crowd to pursue their passion. But when he noted, “I was making good money, I was feeling really great,” the crowd responded with another wave of angry chants and boos.
Despite being dragged for filth the entire time, David bulldozed through his speech for a painful 20 minutes. Here’s a short clip of the speech:
Chants of “pay your writers!” during David Zaslav’s BU commencement speech: pic.twitter.com/x65XwmIxgD
— Tyler Ruggeri (@t_ruggeri) May 21, 2023
Some students boycotted their graduation and instead went to a ceremony protest, where nearly 200 pickers were gathered since 11:30 am with signs that read “Protect Residuals Not CEOs” and “Private Jets But No Fair Wages,” as reported by BU Today. Safe to say that if David Zaslav decided to try to get back into Boston University’s good graces by cutting a check for a performance arts center, he should add that a protection wall should be built in front of it since it’d become every student’s favorite building to throw eggs at.