Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and other big-name writers back WGA dissidents in escalation of guild tensions

July 26, 2019Media Mention
Los Angeles Times

Some of the biggest names in Hollywood are challenging the leadership of the Writers Guild of America, exposing a widening rift inside the union over its extraordinary battle with talent agents.

Shonda Rhimes, Ryan Murphy and Ava DuVernay are among more than 300 writers who have declared their support for dissidents in upcoming board elections, injecting a new level of drama into a conflict that has created widespread unease across the film and TV business.

Whether the statement will precipitate a change in approach at the WGA remains to be seen, but it is certain to be a wake up call for guild leaders, industry analysts said.

“Obviously a union needs the support of its members to execute a strategy like this,” said Dan Stone, a partner in the litigation and entertainment and media groups of law firm Greenberg Glusker. “If the membership doesn’t stand behind the leadership of the union or starts to voice dissent, that causes a problem in the position that the union is taking. At the very least, it would lead the current leadership to reconsider their strategy.”