After Outcry, Writers Guild Tries to Clarify Silence on Hamas Assault

Going through mounting strain from greater than 300 Hollywood screenwriters questioning why it had not publicly condemned the Hamas assault on Israel this month, the Writers Guild of America West despatched a letter to its members on Tuesday that sought to elucidate its silence whereas additionally calling the assault “an abomination.”

The letter, signed by the guild’s management and considered by The New York Occasions, mentioned the explanation the union had not issued a press release after the assault on Oct. 7 was not “as a result of we’re paralyzed by factionalism or masking hateful views” however somewhat as a result of “we’re American labor leaders, conscious of our limitations and humbled by the magnitude of this battle.”

The guild’s letter acknowledged that it had publicly commented on different conditions “which could possibly be characterised as past our scope,” however that it had not made any assertion following, as an illustration, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“It may be an imprecise science for a labor union to select and select the place it weighs in on each home and world affairs,” mentioned the letter, which was signed by the president, Meredith Stiehm; the vice chairman, Michele Mulroney; and Betsy Thomas, the secretary-treasurer.

Nonetheless, they added, “We perceive this has precipitated great ache and for that we’re really sorry.”

(The west and east branches of the W.G.A. are affiliated unions with separate management that collectively symbolize greater than 11,000 writers.)

On Oct. 15, a bunch of screenwriters despatched an open letter to the guild asking why it had not publicly denounced the assault on Israel, noting the union had made public statements in assist of the Black Lives Matter motion and the #MeToo reckoning. Additionally they famous that different main Hollywood unions had issued statements condemning the assault.

The letter has now been signed by greater than 300 writers, together with Jerry Seinfeld, Eric Roth (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and Amy Sherman-Palladino (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”). Some Jewish screenwriters had begun to query whether or not they need to stay a part of a company that they felt didn’t assist them.

Ms. Stiehm’s preliminary reply to the open letter was an e-mail to inquiring members saying that the shortage of response was as a result of “the board’s viewpoints are diverse, and we discovered consensus out of attain.”

The letter on Tuesday, which mentioned the guild’s management was “horrified by the atrocities dedicated by Hamas,” was an try and stem the outrage.

“I actually admire this assertion,” mentioned the screenwriter Howard Gordon (“24” and “Homeland”), who added in an interview that the silence from the guild had prompted responses from each Jewish and non-Jewish members starting from rage to worry to the will to resign from the group.

“I hope this letter goes an extended option to type of calming a few of it down,” mentioned Mr. Gordon, who signed the open letter to the guild. “Hopefully one thing constructive comes out of this, which is an acknowledgment of how we fight and confront and discuss antisemitism.”

For Dan Gordon, nonetheless, the apology got here too late. Mr. Gordon, 76, despatched a letter Tuesday morning resigning his membership within the group, calling its silence “appalling.”

“It’s corrosive to me as a author and repugnant to each fiber of my being as an individual of conscience,” wrote Mr. Gordon, who has no relation to Howard Gordon and is finest identified for “The Hurricane” and “Wyatt Earp.” “I’m resigning my membership not as a result of I want to work on nonunion initiatives, nor cross any picket line, however as a result of I now not want to be a fellow traveler with those that cover behind the fetid veil of a morally bankrupt wokeism and stand silent within the face of unadulterated evil.”

Mr. Gordon’s newest movie, “Irena’s Vow” — a few younger Polish-Catholic girl throughout World Struggle II who hid 12 Jews within the basement of a German officer’s home with out his data for nearly a 12 months — debuted on the Toronto Worldwide Movie Pageant in September.

He’ll change his guild membership standing to “monetary core,” in line with his letter. Below that designation, he’ll nonetheless obtain the contract advantages earned by the guild however he’ll now not be capable to vote or attend any guild conferences. The designation is irreversible and considered by the guild as an act of disloyalty. The W.G.A. maintains a web-based record of members who’ve chosen this standing, with a reminder that “Fi-Core is without end.”

Mr. Gordon known as Tuesday’s letter from the guild “pusillanimous” and faulted it for not calling for a launch of the hostages.

“I don’t retract something I mentioned,” he added in an interview. “If one can not condemn, clearly, and with out reservation, what Hamas perpetrated, one’s ethical compass is absent, not damaged.”

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