Atlanta stunt actor, union board member sets himself on fire during Actors Guild protests

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Members of the Atlanta stunt community joined together Monday to show support for the SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical/Streaming strike.

Dozens of stunt performers gathered at Covert Camera Vehicles, an Atlanta-based tracking company for film and television.

Mike Sassa, a stunt performer, stunt coordinator, and board member of labor organization Stunts Unlimited set himself on fire as part of the ongoing Writers’ and Actors’ guild strikes during an Atlanta area rally.

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Among his more recent contributions to film, Sassa was a stunt double for Harrison Ford in the newest Indiana Jones film, as well as a co-coordinator for the film’s stunt sequences.

Multiple stunt persons spoke at the event in support of the strike and it concluded with performers staging a stunt, which included Sassa’s fiery demonstration.

“87% of the 160,000 SAG Actor Members make less than $26,000 a year. Which means they do not qualify for health insurance,” stunt performer/actor Elena Sanchez said at the event.

Film and movie actors and writers are on strike.

The Writers Guild of America, representing 11,500 screenwriters, began their strike on May 2 over an ongoing labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

On July 13, actors with SAG-AFTRA went on strike against film and tv studios.

Many actors say they have been shortchanged by their work appearing on various streaming platforms.

The union proposed that a third-party company evaluate the success of streaming shows and that residual payments be based on how well they perform.

But AMPTP companies disagreed with that proposal, arguing that many streaming platforms are not yet profitable.


Artificial intelligence was also a major issue in negotiations.

Many performers are concerned about how their voice and likeness could be manipulated in the future by AI programs.

Many major film and television productions are filmed in Georgia.

Productions spent nearly $4.5 billion dollars in Georgia during the fiscal year 2022.

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