Carl Gottlieb Quits WGA West Vice Presidential Race For Health Issues

Carl Gottlieb WGA
Shutterstock/WGA West

Carl Gottlieb has withdrawn his candidacy for vice president of the WGA West for medical reasons, leaving incumbent Marjorie David, the running mate of WGA West president David A. Goodman, the only candidate in the race.

Gottlieb, who’s served as vice president and secretary-treasurer of the guild, made the announcement Thursday via a statement read during the guild’s Candidates Night forum at the Writers Guild Theater.

“Carl Gottlieb has withdrawn his candidacy for vice president for medical reason due to an unexpected significant cardiac event,” said moderator Brian Gary, to gasps from the assembled writers. “Carl wanted everyone to know that he’s on the mend, however, he won’t be able to do anything but concentrate on recovery for the foreseeable future. Carl says he is happy to be alive, but unhappy to be weak and unable to be present at the theater tonight, or available for any type of guild service until he recovers. He also said to communicate his love to all the guild, and I think collectively from the theater we’re going to send him lots of good energy tonight.” Gary’s good wishes were greeted by loud and sustained applause from the audience.

David praised Gottlieb in her remarks at the forum. “He’s a great guy. He is deservedly respected, and I know we all send him our fondest good wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery.” This too was greeted by applause.

Before withdrawing from the race, Gottlieb, whose screenwriting credits include Jaws and The Jerk, addressed many of the key issues in the election in his candidate’s statement including the guild’s ongoing fight with Hollywood’s talent agencies.

“I believe our stature and influence as writers must be reinforced in public forums, through legislative action, and by maintaining and strengthening global alliances with all writers,” he wrote. “It’s true that no Guild or union is stronger than its membership, and no leadership can govern effectively without respecting the wishes of the membership. I’m interested in exploring every strategy for positive change, and mounting a strong offense as a deterrent to the greed and monopolistic power of the companies who employ us. I agree we must end unreasonable conflicts of interest that dilute, and even pervert, our agents’ fiduciary obligation to bargain in our best interest.

“When I was Secretary-Treasurer I was a careful steward of our financial resources. Our union’s financial structure and security has grown to unprecedented levels. I am saddened by an unrelenting downward trend in overall compensation paid to writers. I applaud the head-on confrontation that the Guild has initiated against our ‘representatives,’ and I promise you that I will pursue any solution to the conflict, as long as it serves writers. If there is a way for agencies to continue packaging and fairly represent writer/producer clients, I’m open to it, whether means divestiture or some other, as-yet unexamined compromise. Your officers and board can’t force companies to hire anyone, but we can fight for changes in contract language, diversity employment, deal structuring, agent/manager behavior, and all the conditions under which writers seek employment and perform services. Let’s stop one-step deals, sweepstake pitching, infinite rewrites, and ignorant, uninformed oversight by ‘creative’ executives and their underlings.”

Gottlieb is the second vice presidential candidate to withdraw from the election after Craig Mazin, who was opposition presidential candidate Phyllis Nagy’s vice presidential running mate before dropped out of the race July 31 due to a medical issue with an immediate family member.

Presidential candidate William Schmidt also announced that he was quitting the race at the Candidates Night forum.

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