President Beau Willimon and executive director Lowell Peterson made the statement Thursday, a week after the bombshell revelations about Weinstein were unveiled in a New York Times article. They called Weinstein’s conduct “deplorable.”
The duo promised in the announcement that the New York-based guild, which has 4,000 members, has a responsibility make sure members can do their work free from harassment and assault — and that when this inappropriate behavior does take place, members should be fully supported by the union to make sure that proper action is taken.
See the complete statement below.
Harvey Weinstein’s deplorable misconduct has become public knowledge because of brave women and intrepid reporters. Regrettably, sexual harassment and assault have long been hallmarks of the entertainment industry. The vast majority of incidents go unreported. Those who have the courage to speak out often do so at professional and emotional risk. All too often no action or insufficient action is the result.
We believe the Writers Guild of America, East has a role to play in moving our industry in the right direction. More immediately, our responsibility is to make sure our members can do their work free from harassment and assault. When this inappropriate behavior does take place, members should be fully supported by the union to make sure that proper action is taken.
The WGAE’s elected leaders and professional staff are undertaking a thorough review of the tools we currently possess and of additional steps the union can take to facilitate prevention, reporting, review, counseling and protection. As part of that work we will ask members for input on their experiences and how they think the union should tackle this issue.
There might be some uncomfortable features of this struggle against harassment and abuse. The culture of silence will be difficult to change. Sometimes our own members might be perpetrators. In the long run it will be imperative to address the industry’s lack of diversity – the profound imbalance of power in the business of creating and distributing stories. This is a project to which the WGAE is fully committed.