More than 50 prominent showrunners, including J.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes and Mike Schur, have signed the WGA West’s Safe and Inclusive Workplace Pledge, committing to “partner with the guild in developing best practices proven to drive change, alongside support programs for the wider show-running community that ensure every leader has the tools and understanding necessary to create workplaces in which all members can thrive.”
The guild’s Showrunner Initiative Committee said in a message to the guild’s members, “As a writer community, we can help create a new culture, one in which abuse and discrimination cannot thrive.”
The pledge states: “As union members, mistreatment of one of us is a problem for all of us. For the last four years, there has been an evolving conversation about addressing sexism, racism, discrimination, and bullying in our industry. As showrunners, we believe this behavior should not be tolerated. And while the legal responsibility for ensuring safe workplaces lies with our studio employers, we believe there are concrete actions we can and should take to help bring about systemic change.”
Signers pledged to take the following actions as the “first step” in this initiative:
1. Attend the WGAW’s inaugural Anti-Bias Training, and invite our #2.
2. Share the WGAW’s Community Standards with our writers’ rooms at the start of each season, adhere to these standards, make it clear that every writer on staff is expected to do the same, and provide clear instructions for how to report any failure to follow these basic guidelines to us, the WGAW, and/or studio human resources.
3. Commit to reading and meeting with at least one writer from an underrepresented group for every open staffing slot. We also commit to posting all future staff openings on the WGA Platform Staffing Submission System to ensure equal access for all members.
“We realize that these steps will not be successful without transparency and accountability,” the pledge says. “We will encourage all WGA members on our writing staffs to provide the guild with feedback on the impact of these measures. We will work with the guild to develop a report on our experience that will be released in fall 2022.
“We are grateful for the invitation to lead on this crucial issue and encourage all showrunners to join us in taking these concrete actions.”
The members of the guild’s Showrunner Initiative Committee are:
WGA West president Meredith Stiehm
Secretary-treasurer Betsy Thomas
Former president David A. Goodman
Board members Liz Hsiao Lan Alper, Robb Chavis, Travis Donnelly, David Slack and Nicole Yorkin
Former board members Angelina Burnett and Luvh Rakhe
Here’s the full list of the pledge’s 57 initial signers:
Yvette Lee Bowser
Barbara E. Hall
Ronald D. Moore
Melinda Hsu Taylor
Aaron Rahsaan Thomas
Nichell Tramble Spellman