WGA West presidential candidate William Schmidt has called on the guild’s leadership to disavow the attacks he said he’s experienced on social media since announcing his candidacy and revealing that he hasn’t fired his agent.
On April 13, the guild ordered all of its members to fire their agents who refuse to sign its Code of Conduct, but Schmidt maintains such an order violates the guild’s constitution. Schmidt didn’t fire his ICM Partners agent, but has told her not to try to get jobs for him or negotiate any new contracts – in effect, no longer representing him for any guild-covered work.
Even so, some members have called for him to be expelled, and at least two guild leaders have called for him to be investigated.
“The WGA Constitution, in Article III, Section 2, lists the powers of the board of directors, from the employment and discharging of executive directors to the establishment and maintenance of the guild’s public relations and more,” he told Deadline. “Nowhere is there even a suggestion that the board has the power to impel membership to write letters firing their agents. Such a thing has never been done and is a violation not only of the constitution but the spirit of the guild, itself. And it was entirely unnecessary. The contract ended. We couldn’t work with our agents. End of story.”
In ordering the firing of their agents, the guild has pointed to its Working Rule 23, which states that “No writer shall enter into a representation agreement whether oral or written, with any agent who has not entered into an agreement with the Guild covering minimum terms and conditions between agents and their writer clients.”
“I have not entered into any new agreement with my agent, including ICM,” he said. “I told my agent that she must not work in my behalf, in any way, during the contract negotiations between the guild and the ATA. I am not in violation of Working Rule 23. But I refused then, and refuse now, to be railroaded into a blatantly unconstitutional action that is harmful to my relationship with my agent, one which has also split the guild for no good purpose.”
“I believe I am being singled out on multiple Facebook pages and other social media platforms by leadership because I am challenging their narrative of the ATA action, and in the context of a democratic election, no less.
“We are a union that rightfully prides itself on Freedom of Speech. I call on David Goodman, David Young and the leadership of the guild to disavow such bullying tactics and have an honest debate on the issues vital to the health of the WGA.”
The WGA did not respond to request for comment.