Confronting racism, exclusion, and pay inequity remain central to the Guild’s purpose and mission. We have written to you a number of times in recent months about other areas of Guild work. We write today to affirm that the under-employment and under-compensation of writers affected by bias and discrimination occupies a primary place on our Guild agenda. The urgency generated by George Floyd’s murder persists as a motivator for those of us in Guild leadership. We have actions to report to you today, and can tell you what to expect from us in the new year.
We wrote in June that we would look both inward and outward for ways the Guild could more directly confront the systemic racism and other biases in our industry. We have since amplified the voices of our Committee of Black Writers, our Career Longevity Committee, and our Native American & Indigenous Writers Committee. We cheered when members of our Latino Writers Committee joined in a statement with others Latinx members of our industry. We facilitated the creation of a Middle Eastern Writers Committee and continue to support the work of our Writers with Disabilities Committee, our Asian American Writers Committee, our LGBTQ+ Writers Committee, and our Committee of Women Writers. We have most recently been developing policies, goals and plans in conjunction with the Inclusion & Equity Group, which we formed several years ago for just this purpose.
You can find out more about these member committees and the staff in the Inclusion & Equity department on the Guild’s website.
Today we are releasing WGAW Community Standards formulated to set shared expectations for all members. These standards address issues of bias, discrimination, and inequity, as well as sexual harassment and bullying. We appreciate the many members who contributed to these standards by sharing real-life workplace experiences in surveys and workshops, or by reporting incidents of mistreatment. Our aim is a work environment for writers that is safe, inclusive, and equitable. Only when writers are safe from abuse, fully included, and treated equitably can creativity thrive.
Early in 2021, the Guild will be participating in the test of a reporting platform tailored for the entertainment industry which has been developed by The Hollywood Commission led by Anita Hill. This new platform will give writers who feel they have experienced discrimination, harassment, bullying, micro-aggressions, or sexual abuse the ability to share their experiences anonymously, file immediate or conditional reports, access resources, and connect with other victims within the Guild anonymously. We have been active in the work of the Hollywood Commission and we intend this as a step toward an industrywide reporting system.
Also in the planning and early implementation stages are:
- enhanced research to document under-representation and pay inequity;
- several types of training for Guild leaders, staff, and new and mid-level members;
- outreach to showrunners and industry executives to support their efforts to reset, adopt, and meet higher standards of inclusion and equity; and,
- work with franchised agencies on their inclusion and equity commitments.
In the coming year we will come back to you with more specifics. Together, through these and additional programmatic responses, we can continue to pursue concrete steps toward the goal of increasing inclusion and equity in writer employment and on screen.
David A. Goodman, President
Marjorie David, Vice President
Michele Mulroney, Secretary-Treasurer
Dante W. Harper
Deric A. Hughes
Patric M. Verrone