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.
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