Overworked assistants have seen their pay drop from "a third or nearly a half, thanks to an array of pressures that made them feel they had to underreport their hours," according to Maureen Ryan. The result has been, as one assistant put it, "really just more elite gatekeeping" that has affected marginalized communities most severely. "The staffers in question perform many of the basic and most essential tasks of the TV industry," says Ryan. "They take notes on story-planning sessions, coordinate script changes, run errands, and make sure expenses are paid, just for starters. It’s no exaggeration to say the industry would not function without these employees, and for them, overtime hours—which are paid at higher rates—are crucial to their ability to stay afloat." After 15 showrunners at Warner Bros. TV banded together, the studio relented and recently agreed to pay raises after initially capping pay to a maximum 40-hour workweek (even if an assistant worked 60 hours). Other studios like NBC Universal and Sony Pictures Entertainment have also reportedly slashed pay. As one unnamed female assistant tells Ryan, cutting pay actually hurts studios seeking diverse voices. “We should be supporting Black, POC, queer, and disadvantaged voices in this industry, but policies like this function to shut many of them out," this assistant says. "Due to institutionalized racism, they are more likely to lack the financial resources to support themselves if they are not being paid fairly for their work."