UPDATE with DGA & SAG-AFTRA statements: The Directors Guild of America has added its voice to the criticism of Donald Trump’s travel ban executive order, though the DGA stopped far short of the WGA’s charges that the order is unconstitutional. Here is the DGA statement in full:
“The DGA strongly believes that artists — regardless of their national origin, faith, or gender — should be able to come to the United States to showcase their work. Policies that prevent this, without due consideration, should be of concern to all who care about art and cinema. The open exchange of art is core to who we are, it’s what motion pictures and television are increasingly about — drawing humanity together, transcending borders and cultures. The DGA will continue to support the ability of artists to work and share their art in the United States.”
“SAG-AFTRA’s membership includes creative professionals from all over the world. This union values equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender, creed, disability, sexual orientation or country of birth. Any public policy that enacts discrimination based on religious or national background runs absolutely counter to those values and will be vigorously resisted. This immigration policy is misguided and we will support our fellow artists every step of the way.”
Neither statement is as strongly worded as Sunday’s condemnation by the WGA, which called Trump’s plan unconstitutional (see below).
UPDATED with American Federation of Musicians statement: The Writers Guilds of America East and West have condemned President Donald Trump’s travel ban as “unconstitutional and deeply wrong.” The guild branches jointly pledged their support for Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of the Oscar-nominated The Salesman, who has declined to attend the ceremony in protest of the travel ban, which might have prevented him from attending.
The WGA is the latest to slam the ban and support Farhadi, including the Motion Picture Academy and numerous members of the Hollywood community. Farhadi’s The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, which Farhadi’s A Separation won in 2012.
Here’s the joint statement, in full, from Michael Winship, President, WGA East, and Howard A. Rodman, President, WGA West:
“It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into. The Writers Guilds of America, East and West condemn Donald Trump’s profoundly un-American ‘Muslim ban,’ and applaud the Federal Court’s decision to grant a stay that will keep those being held at American airports from being forcibly returned to their countries. Human rights – including the freedoms of speech and religion – are essential to all Americans and to all who come here to build better lives.
“We are especially troubled by reports that Asghar Farhadi, director of The Salesman, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes and is now nominated for an Oscar, may together with his cast and crew be prevented from entering our country. From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them.”
On Tuesday, the American Federation of Musicians also spoke out about the travel ban, saying in a statement:
“The American Federation of Musicians Local 47 condemns the ban on immigration and entry to the United States by people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.“Closing our borders to people because of the religion they practice is wrong. It violates our country’s founding principles and it sends a disturbing message to extremists at home and abroad.“As artists we often find ourselves on the front lines in defense of diversity. Our music can be heard throughout movements for civil rights and social justice. Today we stand together with our brothers and sisters of all faiths to affirm our universal right to free thought and free speech.“We reject all forms of religious discrimination. We stand in opposition to the Muslim ban and we won’t be silent about it.”