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#Writers Guild East Explains Why It Hasn’t Made a Statement on Israel and Gaza

The Writers Guild of America East is offering an explanation for why it hasn’t made a statement about Hamas’ attack on Israel, while also emphasizing that it stands against antisemitism and Islamophobia, amid criticism of the WGA‘s silence.

In a message sent to members on Monday, top leaders of the union noted that a recent restructuring of the guild had led to a change in policy on public statements. The organization pointed out this referendum was spurred by the fact that journalists now make up 40 percent of its membership.

“In doing so, we in leadership agreed to move away from public statements that did not directly involve our Guild, our industries or the labor movement,” read the note attributed to president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, film/TV/streaming vp Erica Saleh, online media vp Sara David, broadcast/cable/streaming news vp Kathy McGee and secretary-treasurer Chris Kyle. “Such statements hindered journalist members’ work and divided rather than united us. Since the referendum, we have made two such statements, both about the protection of reporters.”

The leaders acknowledged that this lack of response would likely spur criticism. “We realize this will strike some of you as inadequate,” the message continued. “We also realize that our own personal sentiments about the atrocities in Israel committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza will not suffice. Representing a diversity of workers means our union is strong enough to hold many different views. However, we want to be clear: There is no place in this Guild — none at all — for antisemitism or Islamophobia.”

The Hollywood Reporter previously reported that 75 WGA members convened Friday for a 90-minute Zoom meeting to express disappointment that the union had not joined other guilds — including SAG-AFTRA and the DGA — in condemning Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack that killed 1,400 people, many of them civilians. Multiple sources told THR at the time that the WGA board remained divided on a response and feared that some activist members would take issue with any message of support for Israel.

Meanwhile, the WGA’s Western branch has yet to issue any official statement regarding the conflict.

In an open letter issued Friday, a group of writers called out the WGA for not denouncing the Hamas terrorist attacks. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations in the U.S., supported the letter in its own statement that day.

The message from the WGA East was shared shortly after hundreds of Hollywood figures signed an open letter thanking President Joe Biden for remaining resolute in helping return the hostages held in Gaza.

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