You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Writers Slam Guild’s ‘Belligerent’ Tactics in Agency Battle: ‘You Cannot Coerce Solidarity’

With the Writers Guild of America locked in a bitter standoff with Hollywood agents, three high-profile screenwriters have slammed the severity of the WGA’s tactics.

The letter, addressed to WGA leaders, was written by Brandon Camp, Peter Landesman and Phyllis Nagy. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents saw talks crater on April 12 over efforts to revamp the 43-year-old rules governing how agents represent WGA members. No new talks are scheduled.

“We are writing to you because we are torn,” Camp, Landesman and Nagy said. “On the one hand, we agree TV packaging has gotten out of hand. On the other, we have serious qualms about the Guild’s tactics in righting this situation. Its methodology has seemed belligerent at times. Meanwhile, leadership’s tone toward its own members has seemed outright threatening, especially toward those who have chosen to dissent from the path you are on.”

The guild has imposed a “code of conduct” after talks collapsed over rules that agents cannot represent WGA members unless they agree to bans on collecting packaging fees on and owning stakes in production companies. That’s led to WGA leadership orchestrating a mass firing of agents by WGA members and a suit against CAA, WME, UTA and ICM alleging illegal conflict-of-interest practices. The ATA, meanwhile, has threatened legal action over managers and lawyers who perform agenting tasks.

“Let us be clear: this is not a labor action, it is not a strike, it is a contract renegotiation,” the trio continued. “You cannot coerce solidarity, especially when the facts are murky. Dissent — even public dissent — is our right, and the narrative that it weakens the Guild is an authoritarian, anti-democratic argument, and we reject it outright.”

The code of conduct was approved in late March by more than 95% of voters. Members who continue to use agents who have not signed the code may be disciplined by the WGA.

There is a growing group of writers who have connected via a private social media channel that is putting pressure on guild leaders to find a resolution to the ATA standoff. There appears to be growing anger about the guild’s tactics in pressuring members to send in their termination letters.

“The path you have taken thus far is a good way to whip up anger and confusion among writers, many of whom are now more frightened than they were before, but it’s a terrible way to create public policy, or get us what we need and deserve,” they also said in the letter.

Camp’s credits include 2018’s “Benji.” Landesman wrote the screenplays for “Parkland,” “Concussion” and “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House.” Nagy received an Academy Award nomination for her “Carol” script.

The ATA and the WGA had no comment about the letter.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Incitement

    'Incitement' Wins Ophir Award for Best Picture, Becomes Israel's Oscar Submission

    “Incitement” was the best-picture winner at Israel’s Ophir Awards on Sunday night, automatically becoming the country’s choice to vie for the international feature film Oscar. The winning film, a drama about the period leading up to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish extremist in 1995, had its global premiere at [...]

  • LargoAI

    LargoAI Wins Inaugural San Sebastian Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge

    SAN SEBASTIAN  —  Swiss artificial intelligence and data analytics company LargoAI won Sunday’s first-ever San Sebastian Film Festival Zinemaldia & Technology Startup Challenge. LargoAI’s software provides data-driven filmmaking strategies, similar to those used by major VOD platforms which aggregate and often horde their own user-driven data. From early in the screenwriting process through development and [...]


    FiGa Snags 'Contactado,' By The Team Behind San Sebastian Winner 'Pelo Malo' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sandro Fiorin’s FiGa Films has picked up worldwide sales rights to “Contactado,” the upcoming feature by Sudaca Films’ Marité Ugás and Mariana Rondón, the duo behind San Sebastian 2013 Golden Shell winner, “Pelo Malo.” The Sudaca partners are attending San Sebastian to pitch Rondón-helmed project “Zafari” at the 8th Europe-Latin American Co-production Forum. Directed by [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    'Ad Astra' Lifts Above Competition at International Box Office With $26 Million

    Though “Ad Astra” was overthrown by the Crawley family at the domestic box office, Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama reigned supreme at the international box office. Directed by James Gray, “Ad Astra” launched overseas with $26 million from 44 foreign markets. The $80 million sci-fi epic debuted in North America with $19.2 million, bringing global box [...]

  • hugh jackman tiff bad education

    Toronto's Biggest Deal Goes to HBO: A Sign of the Future? (Column)

    When it comes to how we’ll be watching movies — or, at least, watching serious dramas for adults — in the future, here are two stark and timely contradictory facts: 1. Last week, as the Toronto International Film Festival drew to a close, a deal that had been in the rumor stage for a while [...]

  • 'Talking About Trees' Helmer Suhaib Gasmelbari

    'Talking About Trees' Director Suhaib Gasmelbari Receives Variety MENA Award

    Suhaib Gasmelbari, whose Sudanese documentary “Talking About Trees” premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section, received the Variety Middle East and North Africa Region Talent Award Saturday at the El Gouna Film Festival in Egypt from festival director Intishal Al Timimi. Variety critic Jay Weissberg, who selected the honoree, said that it is not usual that [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content