The Most Strategic Accessory on the Hollywood Picket Line? Bare Arms

It’s unbearably hot in Hollywood these days, both meteorologically and metaphorically. Los Angeles, like many parts of the country, has endured an extreme heat wave for nearly a month now. That’s almost how long it’s been since the Screen Actors Guild joined the Writers Guild of America on the picket line against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, with little sign of resolution in sight. With actors and writers gathering in droves to strike outside the sweltering studio lots, we’re seeing what celebrities wear when they actually have to dress for summer weather: a whole lot of tank tops.

Now, the picket line is suddenly replete with the toned biceps and triceps of Hollywood’s most in-demand actors. The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White bared his arms while picketing a couple of weeks ago in a simple gray tank, his beat-to-hell Mets cap, and a pair of faded blue jeans. He was joined a few days later by Abbott Elementary’s Tyler James Williams, who paired his white tank with, ahem, a Yankees cap and navy sweats. Recent Oscar nominee Colin Farrell, meanwhile, rolled up the sleeves of his standard-issue “SAG-AFTRA Strong” tee, which he color-coordinated with one of his little rolled-up headbands. Even The White Lotus’s F. Murray Abraham joined the gun show: While picketing in New York last week, the 83-year-old wore a straw Panama hat with a seemingly well-loved commemorative tank top from the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Colin Farrell, center, bearing arms on the picket line in Los Angeles.

Hollywood To You/Star Max

“It’s so deeply not the point but I enjoy this new form of regularly scheduled programming,” writer Tess Garcia recently tweeted, alongside photos of bare-armed Williams and White on the SAG-AFTRA picket line. This incidental peacocking, though, might actually be pretty good publicity for the cause. Last week, InStyle ran a story titled “We Support The Strike And Jeremy Allen White’s Biceps at the Strike,” and Slate included the “hard-earned ’ceps” of “actors who look like they just clocked out of a shift welding steel beams” in their list of picket-line fashion trends. (See also: this article you’re currently reading.) The official SAG Instagram account posted a photo of a guns-out White in a post that garnered nearly 40,000 likes, which is approximately 28,000 more likes than the posts preceding and following it have combined. As Garcia put it: It’s not the point, but it’s got people paying attention.

On the flip side, photos of actors’ physiques going viral is also good publicity for the shows they currently cannot actively promote. Jeremy Allen White is the star of FX’s The Bear, whose second season premiered just weeks before SAG joined the strike; he’s been photographed several times in varying degrees of shirtlessness since the promo freeze. “The Paramount and Netflix lots are like the Met Ball of picketing,” TV writer Emily Goldwyn told GQ in May, and that was well before the actors arrived. When A-listers show up in public to strike, it’s a good bump for visibility—hence why strike organizers have been urging them to turn out. Doesn’t hurt if they arrive in something that shows off their toned arms, either.

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