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WGA Candidate William Schmidt Accuses Guild Leaders of Bringing ‘Chaos’ to Industry

William Schmidt, who’s challenging incumbent WGA West president David Goodman in the upcoming election, has accused guild leadership of bringing chaos to the industry.

Schmidt, whose credits include “Yellowstone,” “Outsiders” and “Charmed,” has campaigned for the past two months in opposition to Goodman’s directive for members to fire their agents if they had not signed the WGA Code of Conduct. At least 7,000 agents have been fired.

Schmidt, a 37-year member of the guild, and Phyllis Nagy are running against Goodman in an election that’s widely seen as a referendum on the WGA’s hard-nose tactics versus a more accommodating approach. Ballots go out Aug. 29 and results will be announced Sept. 16.

Schmidt sent out an email to members Wednesday stressing that he’s been impressed at membership meetings by the passion many of the young people expressed for the WGA.

“In showing their solidarity, they honor the thousands of writers who fought for pension, health, residuals, and much more over the years,” he added. “But there’s no reason to honor present leadership. They’ve brought nothing but chaos, confusion, and cries for vengeance. Honor those men and women who came before, who made our lives better through reasoned and intelligent negotiations: vote current leadership out.”

Schmidt has defied the WGA and not fired his agent at ICM Partners. The WGA said on Aug. 16 that the WGA would start holding tribunals to punish writers who have not done so via Working Rule 23, but it has been unspecific as to when those will be held and what the punishments would be. Scmidt said Wednesday that he’s received messages every day from “panicked” writers worried the WGA is coming after them.

“The demand from leadership to sign the e-letter was just that, a demand,” Schmidt said. “Not a rule. There are ways to create or amend rules in the Constitution. Once the Board of Directors approves any changes, they are sent to membership for a yes or no vote. Leadership didn’t do that.”

Schmidt, who served on the WGA West board in the early 1990s, said leadership actually has to interpret the Constitution, not make up new rules arbitrarily.

“In short, leadership is made up of zealots, who need us all with them as they pursue their maximalist fantasies,” he added. “They need a whip to keep us in line.”

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