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War of words defines WGA strike

Writers and studios trade jabs

If the WGA strike is a pitched battle over complex issues of new media, the rhetoric is an easy-to-grasp war of wordplay.

The verbal volleys among the scribes, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and other interested parties have been coming in fast and furious for more than a year. And they follow a typical pattern: Studios call writers irresponsible; writers call studios greedy bastards.

Here’s a look at the more arch statements, in sequential order:

  • Scribe Dick Wolf: “I’m telling everyone who will listen, this isn’t the 1950s when TV was growing. A strike is like shooting arrows into a stumbling animal.” (Nov. 28, 2006)
  • IATSE’s Tom Short: “A small faction inside the WGA is determined to undermine the health and welfare of an entire industry.” (Dec. 6, 2006)
  • AMPTP’s Nick Counter: “I’ve never seen a list of the magnitude that they’ve outlined in their pattern of demands.” (July 11)
  • WGA’s John Bowman: “Our members can’t rely on Hollywood accounting. According to studio analysis, ‘The Simpsons’ doesn’t turn a net profit.” (July 11)
  • AMPTP’s Counter: “The Writers Guild of America made it clear today … they have a total disregard for the true state of the industry and its fundamental economics.” (Sept. 19)
  • AMPTP’s Counter: “It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action.” (Nov. 4)
  • Scribe Greg Daniels: “I encourage (NBC) to send the lawyers in to write our episodes. Terming a full length airing of an episode with paid commercials online as a ‘promo’ is a really good example of creativity and imagination.” (Nov. 6)
  • WGA’s Patric Verrone: “We’re shutting down production, and we’re kicking corporate ass.” (Nov. 9)
  • WGA’s David Young: “You are part of a larger struggle between the American middle-class and the concentration of power in this country.” (Nov. 9)
  • WGA’s John Bowman: “AMPTP, I love you … when I called your rollbacks draconian, that was the liquor talking, not me.” (Nov. 9)
  • Scribe Paul Haggis: “The overarching issue is one of extremely excessive corporate greed that has been permeating our country for the past 20 years.” (Nov. 9)
  • Thesp Sarah Silverman (on a picket sign): “AMPTP: I Really Hate You Right Now” (Nov. 13)
  • AMPTP’s Counter: “The WGA is using fear and intimidation to control its membership.” (Nov. 13)
  • WGA statement: “The AMPTP, as the saying goes, uses numbers the way a drunk uses a lamppost — for support more than illumination.” (Nov. 15)
  • AMPTP statement: “While the WGA’s organizers can clearly stage rallies, concerts and mock exorcisms, we have serious concerns about whether they’re capable of reaching reasonable compromises that are in the best interests of our entire industry.” (Dec. 7)
  • WGA East’s Michael Winship: “They lie. And then they lie again. And then they lie some more.” (Dec. 10)
  • IATSE’s Short: “To the crewmembers … the writers strike is not a party.” (Dec. 13)
  • AMPTP’s Jesse Hiestand: “In the category of worst supporting union, the nominee is the WGA.” (Dec. 18)
  • Dave McNary and Cynthia Littleton

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