J.J. Abrams has joined the ranks of nearly 800 prominent writers and showrunners who have signed a pledge to vote for the guild’s proposed new Code of Conduct that would ban packaging fees and force agencies to sever their ties with affiliated production companies. Voting on the Code begins tonight, and it is expected to be approved by a wide margin. The Code would replace the guild’s current franchise agreement with the Association of Talent Agents if a new deal can’t be reached by April 6.
Here is Abrams’ message to his fellow WGA members:
“Last week I missed my opportunity to sign the Showrunners and Screenwriters Statement of Support. But I’m not going to miss my chance to vote. Please do the same. Please vote.
“And if you agree with me that it’s finally time to end agencies’ conflicted practices, I urge you to join me and VOTE YES. Approve the Code of Conduct. Let’s give our guild the power to make a difference for writers at every level and for generations to come.
“We are voting YES to support guild implementation of an Agency Code of Conduct after the current Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement expires on April 6th, if there is no negotiated settlement. We agree a new agency agreement should confront practices that constitute a conflict of interest: agency packaging fees and agencies functioning as producers.”
A-listers who have signed the Statement of Support include Aaron Sorkin, Norman Lear, Shonda Rhimes, Seth MacFarlane, Tina Fey, Alfonso Cuaron, James L. Brooks, Peter Farrelly, Oliver Stone, John Wells, Joss Whedon, Kenya Barris, Matthew Weiner, Noah Hawley, Vince Gilligan, John Singleton, David Chase, Barry Jenkins, Amy Sherman-Palladino, Colin Trevorrow, Mike Schur, Eric Roth, David Shore, David Simon, Shawn Ryan, Greg Berlanti, Lena Waithe, Paul Haggis, Mindy Kaling, Drew Goddard, Jenji Kohan, Carlton Cuse, Howard Gordon, Kurt Sutter, Krista Vernoff, Mara Brock Akil, Danny Strong, Rob McElhenney, Jason Katims, Terence Winter, Peter Lenkov, Michelle and Robert King, Al Jean, Robert Towne, Gloria Calderon Kellett, Kevin Williamson, Darren Star, Rashida Jones, Pamela Adlon, WGA West president David A. Goodman and WGA East president Beau Willimon.