Following more steep layoffs and the shuttering of a program for emerging writers at Warner Bros. Discovery, Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro sharply criticized leadership at the Hollywood studio, which he called “outright hostile” to new talent, particularly “creators of color.”
Since the merger that created it, Warner Bros. Discovery, Castro said, “seems to go out of it’s way to make the company less inclusive,” and has “imposed a double standard within the company.” He also suggested that political, rather than financial, concerns have motivated recent decisions, evidence that there is “a double standard within the company.”
“So far the new @wbd has been outright hostile to content creators, creators of color, new voices trying to break into the industry, etc. The new WBD seems to go out of it’s way to make the company less inclusive while getting rich off the communities they’re sidelining,” Castro said in a Twitter thread on Tuesday.
“And for what? The business model isn’t working. @WBD stock has lost more than 50% post-merger. So stockholders suffer too. After the Batgirl fiasco (completed project dumped for $90M tax break) content creators discussed making WBD their ‘last look’ when pitching studios,” he continued.
“They have also failed so far to deliver on promises they (leadership) made to civil rights organizations prior to the merger about commitments to inclusion. They have also imposed a double standard within the company,” Castro said.
“Let’s take Warner Bros. and CNN together as an example,” Castro added. “WB cut projects and pre-merger employees over ‘quality’ (profitability) concerns. Yet for CNN David Zaslav indicated that he’s not worried about ratings for now (ratings = profit). Apparently not, a top business side executive hired to run CNN had zero experience in the business.”
Castro’s comments come hours after Warner Bros. Television laid off 26% of the division’s employees — 125 jobs — shut down its digital shortform content team, and killed its 40-year-old Television Writers Workshop. The workshop has long been a way for people without family or financial access to break into Hollywood and has particularly benefitted women and creators of color; notable alumni include Regina King and Sonya Winton-Odamtten & Jonathan I. Kidd (“Lovecraft Country”).
Representatives for Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.