‘Abbott Elementary’ Star William Stanford Davis Reveals Residual Check for Five Pennies

LOS ANGELES - APR 1: William Stanford Davis at the 2023 PaleyFest - Abbott Elementary at the Dolby Theater on April 1, 2023 in Los Angeles, CA — Photo by Jean_Nelson/Deposit Photos

William Stanford Davis has been acting for over three decades, but the residual checks from some of his past jobs just don’t add up.

The actor, who plays school custodian Mr. Johnson on Abbott Elementary, posted a video to Instagram on Friday, July 21, revealing he earned a paltry $0.05 for a rerun of an undisclosed show he worked on.

“Can you believe that? That’s [five] cents. The postage, the paper, everything costs more than that,” Davis said while holding up his residual payment stub, which said the earnings were for a role on episode 207 of an unnamed series.

“That’s what they think of us as actors. This is why we’re on strike for better wages, for better residuals [and] for a piece of the subscription and to not give in to A.I.,” he continued. “I’m standing in solidarity with the writers, and we’re going to be on strike until we get what we need to make a living.”

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The 71-year-old star noted that he’s been acting for 35 years and joined SAG-AFTRA 32 years ago.

Davis is the latest artist to share details about low residual payments on social media since the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes began.

The writers strike started on May 2. While actors started walking picket lines in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other cities on July 14.

Among the issues on the table for both unions are profit sharing or residuals, when streaming platforms re-play TV shows and movies, plus new rules to protect against artificial intelligence using an actor’s likeness and replacing their work.

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher slammed “greedy” studio executives in a fiery speech right after the union called the strike.

“We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity,” she said.

The studios and streamers have said they offered a contract with “historic pay and residual increases,” but SAG-AFTRA rejected the agreement.