WGA Will Not Issue Statement About Hamas Attack on Israel: ‘We Found Consensus Out of Reach’

WGA has been battling internally for over a week about making a public statement while other guilds have condemned the terror attack

WGA Writers Guild of America

The WGA will not be making an official statement about the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel, because “we found consensus out of reach,” according to a memo sent Saturday by WGA West Coast president Meredith Stiehm.

In an email sent to an unspecified number of guild members, first obtained by Deadline, she explained, “In the past week, some members have requested that the Guild take a public stand on events in the Middle East. Equally, many members have asked us to refrain from making any statement.”

The email continued, “The Board of Directors has worked exhaustively to consider the great diversity of opinions among our members on this issue, and determine how best to address this as a Guild.”

“Like the membership itself, the Board’s viewpoints are varied, and we found consensus out of reach. For these reasons, we have decided not to comment publicly,” Stiehm added.

The guild has been mired in internal turmoil since the attacks, and prominent members have been calling on WGA to join the DGA and SAG-AFTRA as well as additional media companies that have directly commented on the attacks and ongoing hostage situation in the country.

A showrunner Deadline described as “prominent” told the outlet, “What a total cop-out, they should be ashamed. They put a statement out about everything else, but not dead Jews, disgusting.”

Stiehm’s email was sent after a 90-minute conversation, held Friday night about a potential response, failed and after “several Guild members made it clear to the board and WGA leadership” that any response that could be read as a statement of support for Israel would be interpreted as support for Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza.

The outlet also reported that the email was primarily sent to guild members who signed an open letter to the WGA on Oct. 15. The letter, which was posted to Medium, reads, “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. It remains the only major Hollywood union to do so,” the letter concluded.

Those who signed the letter include Jerry Seinfeld, Matthew Weiner, Sacha Baron Cohen, Josh Schwartz, and more.

Representatives for WGA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap, but you can read the full text of the WGA memo below:

Wanted to let you know where the Board ended up on this. I know the last couple of weeks have been extremely painful, and I’m so sorry for that. We of course share your anguish, and wish there had been a simple answer here. 

In the past week, some members have requested that the Guild take a public stand on events in the Middle East. Equally, many members have asked us to refrain from making any statement.

The Board of Directors has worked exhaustively to consider the great diversity of opinions among our members on this issue, and determine how best to address this as a Guild. Like the membership itself, the Board’s viewpoints are varied, and we found consensus out of reach. For these reasons, we have decided not to comment publicly.  

What we can agree on is that many members are deeply affected,  and need community and support in this challenging time. 

To that end, here are some resources we hope you will find helpful.

With Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on the rise, please know that if you are concerned about your safety at work or want to bring a workplace-related discrimination, harassment or bullying claim, or if you merely need to have a confidential discussion with an experienced Guild representative about your situation, including if you’d like a representative to accompany you to file a complaint, contact legal@wga.org

If you are currently experiencing anxiety and/or emotional distress that is interfering with your ability to perform your job duties, you may be entitled to an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act; such as a modified work schedule, remote work, and additional leave.  If you’d like the Guild to assist with the request, please call the Legal Department at (323) 782-4521, or email legal@wga.org.

Mental health resources are available to you and your family through our health plan. You can find participating PWGA providers HERE. LA County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH)’s help line is available 24/7 to provide mental health support, resources and referrals at (800) 854-7771. The Entertainment Community Fund offers stress and anxiety workshops. You can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or the  National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 998.  Counselors can both help anyone calling in and offer links to whatever resources are local to the caller.

Comments

One response to “WGA Will Not Issue Statement About Hamas Attack on Israel: ‘We Found Consensus Out of Reach’”

  1. Min Rodriguez Avatar
    Min Rodriguez

    CONSENSUS….. will it be another TEMPLATE when this borderless soil is attacked and with multiples since over 182 nations have Early Released their Prisoners, mentally ill, diseases, pregnant sick females-babies-toddlers while every gang, cartel, cell has enter to join their counterparts herre…right now over 2.6 years for those have been here. Examples 2020…East to West.. ENJOY you earned it.

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