Read WGA East Statement on Harvey Weinstein

“Regrettably, sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry”

The WGA East has released a statement in light of the sexual misconduct allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

“Harvey Weinstein’s deplorable misconduct has become public knowledge because of brave women and intrepid reporters,” Writers Guild of America East President Beau Willimon and Executive Director Lowell Peterson said in the statement. “Regrettably, sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry. The vast majority of incidents go unreported. Those who have the courage to speak out often do so at professional and emotional risk. All too often no action or insufficient action is the result.”

The statement continued, “We believe the Writers Guild of America, East has a role to play in moving our industry in the right direction. More immediately, our responsibility is to make sure our members can do their work free from harassment and assault. When this inappropriate behavior does take place, members should be fully supported by the union to make sure that proper action is taken.”

Last Thursday, The New York Times published an article detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations including accusations that he propositioned actresses and harassed female employees.

More ugly stories continued to dribble out over the weekend, including a report by a news anchor that Weinstein masturbated in front of her and other stories of inappropriate propositions by the disgraced movie mogul.

Then, the New Yorker published another expose in which three women accused the movie mogul of sexual assault. Journalist Ronan Farrow wrote that he spoke with 13 women who detailed various levels of sexual assault by Weinstein over a roughly 20-year period.

The Weinstein Company, which Weinstein co-founded with his brother, Bob Weinstein, has since fired him.

Read the statement below.

Harvey Weinstein’s deplorable misconduct has become public knowledge because of brave women and intrepid reporters. Regrettably, sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry. The vast majority of incidents go unreported. Those who have the courage to speak out often do so at professional and emotional risk. All too often no action or insufficient action is the result.

We believe the Writers Guild of America, East has a role to play in moving our industry in the right direction. More immediately, our responsibility is to make sure our members can do their work free from harassment and assault. When this inappropriate behavior does take place, members should be fully supported by the union to make sure that proper action is taken.

The WGAE’s elected leaders and professional staff are undertaking a thorough review of the tools we currently possess and of additional steps the union can take to facilitate prevention, reporting, review, counseling and protection.  As part of that work we will ask members for input on their experiences and how they think the union should tackle this issue.

There might be some uncomfortable features of this struggle against harassment and abuse. The culture of silence will be difficult to change. Sometimes our own members might be perpetrators. In the long run it will be imperative to address the industry’s lack of diversity – the profound imbalance of power in the business of creating and distributing stories. This is a project to which the WGAE is fully committed.