There was no respite for the two sides in the WGA-ATA dispute to absorb the news that their negotiations had broken down. As the writers guild informed its members that the talks were over, it sent each member a personalized form letter they can use to fire their agency if it has not signed the new Code of Conduct.
The new Code of Conduct, approved by the WGA membership last month, includes the elimination of packaging and agencies’ affiliation with production entities, and all of the major agencies have said that they will not sign it.
The form letter was linked in WGA’s missive to members this afternoon for each to sign electronically. The letter, the guild says, “in plain and respectful language accomplishes the task” of notifying the writer’s agency that they cannot represent him/her until they sign the new Code of Conduct. According to the WGA, the letter also protects the writers legally “in case there is a further commission dispute.”
“The guild will forward all letters en masse to the appropriate agencies in a few days,” the guild email further said. “Many of you will also want to inform your agents in person. We encourage you to do so and ask them to sign the Code.”
Several writers immediately took to Twitter to share their signed letters with the #IStandWithTheWGA hashtag in support of their guild. The number grew steadily throughout the night, with top showrunners and actor/writers joining in later on, including Steven DeKnight, Tim Doyle, Danny Zucker, Alexi Hawley, Chrissy Pietrosh, Patton Oswalt and Jon Cryer.
By 11 PM PT, #IStandWithTheWGA was a Top 10 trending toping worldwide on Twitter.
Here are some of the tweets, most of which include heart-wrenching notes underlying how difficult the decision has been on writers. And then there was the tweet from David Simon who recently ripped his agency over packaging.
UPDATE: The letter posts continued on Saturday, with Damon Lindeloff and Hart Hanson among the top showrunners to share their signed documents. You can follow the list here. Meanwhile, a couple of Friday’s posts have been deleted by their authors.