With one week to go before WGA West ballots are counted, Oscar-winning screenwriter Callie Khouri is urging writers to re-elect the guild’s current leadership and “stand together” to win the WGA’s five-month battle with Hollywood’s talent agencies.
Khouri, who won the Oscar for Thelma & Louise, said in an email blast to the guild’s members Monday that the Forward Together opposition candidates – led by presidential candidate Phyllis Nagy – don’t have the experience needed to bring the agency campaign to a successful conclusion.
“I have served two terms on the board and on one negotiating committee, and I know from firsthand experience the level of research, preparation, and strategic planning required of the leadership and staff in a campaign like this one,” she wrote in support of WGA West president David A. Goodman and his team of running mates. “I take the writers of the Forward Together slate at their word when they say they care about our Guild and are running because they believe it’s what’s best for us all. I would hope that they would be willing to contribute their ideas and help see this action through to a successful conclusion, something we all want.
“But based on all I’ve read, and after listening to all the statements on candidates night, I do not believe the Forward Together slate has the experience or the plan required to move this negotiation forward in a way that will ultimately be best for all writers. Perhaps the details of that plan are laid out in a private chatroom somewhere to which I was not privy, but it still doesn’t speak to the lack of experience. The suggestion that our current leadership doesn’t have a plan, or is fumbling their way through this is frankly ludicrous and not helpful.
“Current leadership has done the work, they’ve done the listening, and they thoroughly understand the risks and realities. Negotiations are about leverage and power. 95.3% of us voted to stand together and see this through and that’s what I intend to do.
“I have been a member of the WGA for twenty-nine years. I’ve seen us win some and lose some. But after all these years I know one thing for sure; nothing makes a writer more vulnerable than a weak and fractured union. I am voting for experience, strength and unity.”
She also urged members to elect Marjorie David as vice president; Michele Mulroney as secretary-treasurer; and board candidates Liz Alper, Angelina Burnett, Rob Chavis, Dante Harper, Zoe Marshall, Luvh Rakhe, Meredith Stiehm and Nicole Yorkin.