The Writers Guild board is under fire for playing thin-skinned publisher and yanking a roundtable discussion of guild politics from Written By, the organization's magazine. Variety's Dave McNary reports that four participants in the roundtable—Larry Gelbart, Lionel Chetwynd, Lynn Roth and Michael Russnow—have "condemned" the decision and that the moderator, Peter Lefcourt, protested by resigning as chair of the Guild Editorial Advisory Committee.
"Those who took part in the conversation are without any question being censored by the largest union of English-speaking writers in the world," said Gelbart. "How sad for the union. How sad for the world...."
The article was originally planned for the October issue of Written By but it was delayed and then pulled in November when the WGA West board voted against publishing the article -- a transcript of the discussion -- on a 7-7 tally with one abstention.
But WGA West assistant exec director Cheryl Rhoden indicated Friday the article may still be published in modified form. "The board voted not to publish the article at this time," she said. "The article is being reviewed for future publication subject to editorial changes."
Participants in the roundtable say that the WGA board asked that comments critical of the union and specific members be deleted, which they refused. Says Chetwynd: "If they'd come to us in a kinder fashion and suggested rearranging some words that might have appeared too pungent, we probably might have toned it down, so long as it didn't change the impression of what we were talking about."