The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has been criticized in an open letter and during Variety‘s Antisemitism Summit for their silence.
The fact that many WGA members have taken to penning an open letter is very telling. Here’s an excerpt of the open letter:
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.[…]
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinian people is complex and full of nuance, but the crimes committed on October 7th were simple and cruel. If we cannot stand up to call it what it is — a monstrous act of barbarity — then we have lost the plot.
Why is it that the guild is unable to issue a statement? Both the DGA and SAG-AFTRA have issued statements following the Hamas attack on Israel. Various studios and entertainment agencies have issued statements. Many industry members–myself included–have also signed onto the Creative Community for Peace open letter. In the nearly two weeks since the awful terrorist attack on October 7, the WGA’s silence is infuriating. If you go on the WGA West or East websites (as of October 18), there are two press releases issued following October 7. One is about ratifying their tentative agreement with the AMPTP. The second is about Hollywood labor supporting SAG-AFTRA and calling for studios to bargain in good faith? But Israel? Crickets.
Wednesday’s comments during the Hollywood & Antisemitism Summit came from The Americans showrunner Joel Fields.
“The Writers Guild has failed us deeply,” Fields said. “For an organization that constantly puts out statements to make sure that it’s on the right side of history, it has sadly issued its statements through its silence.”
Fields was not alone in being critical of the guild. Writer-producer Ilana Wernick did not hold back words: “The WGA clearly has a Jew-hating problem and we need to say it out loud.” Wernick placed the blame on wokism and after seeing how leftists behaved in the days following a heinous attack on Israel, there’s no argument from me.
Is it because the WGA is too afraid to offend anti-Zionist guild members? I’ve got some news. Today’s anti-Zionism, more often than not, is just another form of antisemitism. Look at the increasing attacks on the Jewish community whenever Israel is involved in a war (which it never starts and is always defending itself). I stood in support of the WGA during this year’s WGA strike and attended a few marches and rallies. The fact that the WGA cannot come out and condemn the deadliest attack on Jews since the Holocaust is very upsetting. It makes me question if I, a pre-WGA screenwriter–should ever join the guild going forward. The WGA’s Jewish members deserve so much better.
I’ve seen so many people in the industry not only sharing misinformation but outright posting blood libels. It makes me wonder who I can trust as an ally. With the amount of followers that some have, it’s enough to fan the flames of antisemitism for Jews living in the diaspora. Many leftists have suddenly become Middle East experts overnight as if they caught up on centuries upon centuries of the area’s history. The people that are critical of Israel are always the same ones to conveniently forget that Egypt plays a role in the Gaza blockade. Egypt participates because they don’t want Hamas terrorists infiltrating their population. I said much more about the history in a recent Substack piece. People are really better off being silent than promoting blood libels or falling for Hamas propaganda.
But back to the WGA, why remain silent about a terrorist attack on Israel? Why remain silent about the 200+ hostages? Do Jewish lives not matter? Do better, WGA, because the silence is simply unacceptable.