Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Liberty Nation’s HollyWeird column shines the spotlight on Tinseltown’s A-listers and their wild and wacky takes on today’s events.
Now that Hollywood writers are off the picket line and back to work, the spotlight is again being shone on the Writers Guild of America (WGA), only this time it’s negative press. The organization that has been so adamant about rights for writers and other social issues is now being slammed for refusing to speak out against the attacks in Israel.
The Screenwriters Guild of Israel (SGI) condemned the WGA for its lack of support after the Oct. 7 invasion by Hamas that killed around 1,400 people, most of those civilians. “Your silence is loud and clear and completely contrasted by the loud support demanded from the SGI and their members just a few weeks ago,” it said in a statement. SGI continued:
“It’s a damn shame that a professional writers’ guild decides to withhold words. To keep utterly silent. To not take a stand. Well, your silence is considered a stand, picking a side. A shame.”
The WGA is the only major creative guild in Hollywood that has not yet made an official statement condemning the violence against Israel. SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) have strongly condemned the attacks. But Israel’s guild isn’t the only group that has publicly criticized WGA for not speaking out. On the public platform Medium, senior showrunners, the top-level executive producers and writers, posted a letter, “Writers Speak Out,” with more than 60 signatures. They wrote:
“When it comes to taking a stand, the Writers Guild of America has always led by example. When employers sought to exploit our work, the Guild bravely spoke up. When the BLM movement took flight, the Guild rightfully spoke up. When the #MeToo reckoning came and Hollywood needed to change, again the Guild spoke up.
“But when terrorists invaded Israel to murder, rape, and kidnap Jews … the Guild stayed silent.”
Marc Guggenheim, screenwriter and creator of such television series as Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow, told The Hollywood Reporter, “It feels very much as if we all marched in solidarity for five months having our guild’s back and they are not having ours.”
Members of WGA met last week in a Zoom meeting to discuss how to handle issuing a statement; however, the board said, “We found consensus out of reach,” meaning the decision was divided. After the open letter signed by senior showrunners, management met again this week and then sent a message to its members explaining its reason for not responding, blaming, in part, the recent agreement that ended the writers’ strike. The restructuring led to policy changes on public statements, the organization claimed, and since the membership is made up of about 40% journalists, it has to be picky on what it supports.
The message announced that “we in leadership agreed to move away from public statements that did not directly involve our Guild, our industries or the labor movement,” adding:
“We realize this will strike some of you as inadequate. We also realize that our own personal sentiments about the atrocities in Israel committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza will not suffice. Representing a diversity of workers means our union is strong enough to hold many different views.”
This non-stance by the WGA comes at a time when Americans are divided on the war in Israel, as Liberty Nation’s Editor-in-Chief pointed out in her article “Who’s Behind the Pro-Palestinian Protests?” To quote Leesa K. Donner, “Bearing in mind that more than three-quarters of US citizens polled consider themselves pro-Israel, it was unnerving to see so many well-organized Palestinian voices spring up with such speed.”
Diversity has its place, but what happens when a company or organization becomes so diverse it cannot speak out against such violence? Tune in next time to see what else Tinseltown has planned. For more HollyWeird, click here.