The slate of Phyllis Nagy is getting a massive showing of support from some of the biggest names in film and television. More than 300 writers of all levels in the film and TV business, from up-and-comers to superstars, have signed an open letter endorsing Nagy, who is running for president of WGA West, as well as her slate of Craig Mazin, who’s running for vice president, and Nick Jones Jr., up for secretary-treasurer.
Those who have signed the letter include heavyweights Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti, Ryan Murphy, Ava DuVernay, Dan Fogelman, Kenya Barris, Steve Levitan, Damien Chazelle, Courtney Kemp, Aaron Sorkin, David E. Kelley, Akiva Goldsman, Lena Waithe, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Allan Heinberg, David Benioff, DB Weiss, Alex Kurtzman, Sarah Treem,, Darren Star, Nic Pizzolatto, Scott Frank, Eric Kripke and Alex Gibney.
The list also includes top showrunner John Wells, one of the most respected leaders in the guild who served multiple terms as WGA West president. It is open for any writer to add their name.
The letter by the writers echoes the statements by the candidates they support — gratitude for the efforts by the current guild leadership for taking on the issues of packaging and agency affiliate production over conflict-of-interest concerns, but also a strong belief that the strategy needs to shift, and that can be done with a new leadership.
“We believe this present situation is best resolved in a negotiating room and not in a courtroom,” the letter says.
The Oscar-nominated writer of Carol, Nagy is running on a platform favoring “a measured, calm, respected, reasonable – and yes – negotiated – path (to) get writers back to work with their chosen reps” that would be beneficial “particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community.”
“We won’t reach a resolution with stalemates, entrenched thinking, a reliance on lawsuits that may or may not resolve in our favor after years of litigation, and a refusal to talk to the other side,” Nagy wrote in her “Why I’m Running” statement. In addition to Nagy’s slate, running on the same platform are eight WGAW board candidates, including Courtney Camp, Marc Guggenheim, Rasheed Newsom, Ashley Miller and Nick Kazan.
While several showrunners and feature writers have voiced opposition to the current WGAW leadership strategy over the past couple of months — most notably in a June petition written to WGA chiefs by 20 established scribes, including Nagy — this is the biggest showing of unity behind the change-in-direction platform by the top writers in the business.
Here is the full letter:
An Open Letter from Writers on the September 2019 WGA Election
As members of the Writers Guild of America, we firmly believe that many agency practices are in need of major reform. We are grateful to the present leadership for bringing these matters to the fore.
And we believe this present situation is best resolved in a negotiating room and not in a courtroom.
Furthermore, we are facing a critical negotiation with the AMPTP, a fight that has huge financial consequences for our members especially in the area of residuals, and we believe this battle is best fought by a united, forward-thinking guild that is not entrenched in lawsuits.
Our union is strong enough to endure honest differences of opinion voiced by writers who are loyal to the guild and its mission, who are driven by their concern for our most vulnerable members, but who believe there is a different way to achieve our shared goals.
Phyllis Nagy, for President
Craig Mazin, for Vice President
and Nick Jones, Jr. for Secretary-Treasurer
are the best and strongest voices to lead our guild into its next chapter.
We are grateful to them for being willing to serve, and we are proud to endorse them.
David Branson Smith
James A. Duff
Becky Hartman Edwards
David H. Goodman
John Lee Hancock
Cheo Hodari Coker
Nick Jones, Jr.
David E. Kelley
Ashley Edward Miller
Jennifer Kaytin Robinson
David Branson Smith
Paige Smith Orloff
James P. Stephens
Jenny Rachel Weiner
WGA Writers for Nagy, Mazin and Jones, Jr.