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Stephen Amell walks back comments about not supporting striking after pushback

"From an intellectual perspective, I understand why we are striking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t emotionally frustrating," Amell explained on a Facebook post

Stephen Amell in Heels
Image credit: Starz

Former Arrow star Stephen Amell has walked back some of his comments about the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors strike days after they prompted no small amount of (well-deserved) derision online.

“I support my union. I do, and I stand with them,” Amell said during a panel at GalaxyCon Raleigh this past weekend, in response to a fan question about the SAG-AFTRA strike. He then went on to say, “I do not support striking. I don’t. I think that is a reductive negotiating tactic. I find the entire thing incredibly frustrating. And I think that the thinking as it pertains to shows like the show that I’m on that premiered last night, I think it’s myopic.”

That show, which Amell can’t actually name without being in contravention of the SAG-AFTRA strike rules, is Starz’s Heels, which debuted its second season this weekend. SAG’s strike rules explicitly prohibit members from promoting work on “struck projects,” which is to say, anything made under a SAG-AFTRA contract. Amell’s comments were dancing right up to the line, but by not mentioning the show, he is in the clear… just.

(SAG-AFTRA members’ appearances at comic conventions are a complicated matter right now, as what they can actually talk about is necessarily limited without strike-breaking. Popverse’s parent company ReedPop has just released a statement covering how the strike could impact upcoming shows like NYCC and MCM.)

After a day of social media reaction that has been, shall we say, unafraid to point out how short-sighted Amell's comments were, Amell took to Facebook to respond. “Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to the comments I made this weekend about our strike. To ensure there is no misunderstanding about my thoughts and intentions I’m providing what I actually said and clarity/context to ensure my feelings aren’t unintentionally misinterpreted,” he wrote. Specifically, he wanted to unpack the statement “I do not support striking. I don’t.”

“What this means in full context: I understand fundamentally why we’re here. My off the cuff use of the word ‘support’ is clearly contradictory to my true feelings and my emphatic statement that I stand with my union. Of course I don’t like striking. Nobody does. But we have to do what we have to do,” Amell backtracked… I mean, clarified.

He continued, “Our leadership has an incredibly complicated job and I am grateful for all that they do. Despite some of my terrible early acting work, I assure you, I’m not a robot. From an intellectual perspective, I understand why we are striking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t emotionally frustrating on many levels for all involved.”

Is this enough to push Amell’s reputation back from “prospective scab” to “probably shouldn’t be speaking off the cuff at convention panels”? That remains to be seen — but one thing remains true: famously leftist superhero Green Arrow is very disappointed in you right now, Stephen.

Read up on the SAG-AFTRA strike and its causes here.

Wondering how actors can attend conventions without breaking the strike? Check out our explainer here.