After outrage, Writers Guild tries to maintain silence over Hamas attack

After outrage, Writers Guild tries to maintain silence over Hamas attack

Facing mounting pressure from more than 300 Hollywood screenwriters who questioned why he did not publicly condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel this month, the Writers Guild of America West sent a letter to its members on Tuesday, In which, along with “calling out” the attack, it also sought to explain its silence. An abominable act.”

The letter, signed by the guild’s leadership and seen by The New York Times, said the reason the union did not issue a statement following the Oct. 7 attack was not because “we are seeking factionalism or hiding hateful views.” Paralyzed” but rather because “We are American labor leaders, aware of our limitations and humbled by the magnitude of this struggle.”

Guild’s letter acknowledged that he had publicly commented on other situations “that may be described as beyond our scope”, but that he had not made any statements, for example, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It can be a vague science for a labor union to pick and choose where it values ​​both domestic and world affairs,” said the letter, which was signed by President Meredith Stiehm; Vice President, Michelle Mulrooney; and Betsy Thomas, Secretary-Treasurer.

Still, he said, “We understand that this has caused a lot of pain and we are truly sorry for that.”

(The West and East branches of the WGA are separately led affiliate unions that together represent more than 11,000 writers.)

On October 15, a group of screenwriters sent an open letter to the guild asking why it did not publicly condemn attacks on Israel, given that the union has made public statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the #MeToo reckoning. Had given. He also noted that other major Hollywood unions had issued statements condemning the attack.

The letter has now been signed by more than 300 writers, including Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Roth (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). Some Jewish screenwriters began to question whether they should remain part of an organization that they felt did not support them.

Ms. Stiehm’s initial response to the open letter was an email to inquiring members that said the lack of response was because “the Board’s viewpoints are diverse, and we found consensus out of reach.”

The letter written on Tuesday, which said the guild’s leadership was “appalled by the atrocities committed by Hamas”, was an attempt to stem the outrage.

“I really appreciate this statement,” said screenwriter Howard Gordon (“24” and “Homeland”), who said in an interview that the guild’s silence has drawn reactions ranging from anger to fear from both Jewish and non-Jewish members. Gave responses up to. With a desire to resign from the organization.

Mr Gordon, who signed the open letter to the guild, said: “I hope this letter will go a long way to calming some of this down.” “Hopefully something constructive will come out of this, which is an acknowledgment of how we fight, confront and talk about anti-Semitism.”

However, the apology came too late for Dan Gordon. Mr Gordon, 76, sent a letter on Tuesday morning resigning his membership in the organisation, describing its silence as “appalling”.

“It is devastating to me as a writer and repulsive to every fiber of my being as a rational person,” wrote Mr. Gordon, who is no relation to Howard Gordon and who wrote “The Hurricane” and ” Known for “Wyatt Earp”. ” “I am resigning my membership, not because I wish to work on non-union projects, nor to cross any picket lines, but because I no longer wish to be a fellow traveler with those people. Those who hide behind a disgusting veil of moral bankruptcy and stand silent in the face of pure evil.”

Mr. Gordon’s latest film, “Irena’s Vow” – about a young Polish-Catholic woman during the Second World War who hid 12 Jews in the basement of a German officer’s house without his knowledge for nearly a year – Toronto International Screened at the film festival. September.

According to his letter, he will change his guild membership status to “Financial Core”. Under that designation, he will still receive contract benefits earned by the guild but will no longer be able to vote or attend any guild meetings. The designation is irreversible and is viewed by the Guild as an act of betrayal. The WGA maintains an online list of members Those who have chosen this position with the reminder that “Fi-Cor is forever.”

Mr Gordon called the Guild’s Tuesday letter “unwise” and blamed it for not calling for the release of the hostages.

“I don’t retract what I said,” he said in an interview. “If one cannot clearly and without doubt condemn what Hamas has done, then its moral guidance is absent.” Yes, it is not broken.”

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