With the revolting HB 1557 aka the "Don't Say Gay" bill passing in the Florida state legislature last week and heading for Governor Ron DeSantis' desk, the WGA West is urging Hollywood to reconsider filming projects in the sunshine state. The guild put out an official statement today, encouraging studios to spend their production dollars elsewhere. You can read the full statement below.
The Writers Guild of America West believes in free speech and in the power of storytelling. Any narrative that chooses to erase sexuality and gender identity ignores the existence and the basic humanity of LGBTQ+ persons. This is true when talking about the fictional stories created by our union's members, and equally true when talking about the real-world legislation emerging in multiple states around our country—laws that seek to muzzle educators from even mentioning the word "gay" without risking a lawsuit, and others that seek to criminalize parents who wish to affirm their child's gender.
We urge all WGA signatory companies to reassess not only their political giving, but also where they choose to spend their production dollars. Show, don't tell, that you value the LGBTQ+ community.
The statement was signed by WGA West president Meredith Stiehm, vice president Michele Mulroney, and secretary-treasurer Betsy Thomas. The bill, similar to the many pending throughout the country, criminalizes the discussions of sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade, or "in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students." That last part is crucial, as it indicates that the ruling could extend to all grade levels.
The Animation Guild Called For A Similar Reassessment
In the wake of Disney's monumental fumbling of speaking out against the bill, the Animation Guild (who are in the middle of their own fight for fair wages) called the corporation to task for their silence until the bill had already passed, and called Chapek's decision "a momentous misstep by Disney's leadership that defies logic and company ethics." They have urged Disney to take dramatic action in the wake of the bill's legislative passing, which now has been amplified by the WGA's call for all studios to reassess their relationship with Florida.
Back in 2019, AMC, Disney, WarnerMedia, CBS, NBC, and Sony all threatened to end their business in the state of Georgia if the state passed the controversial and restrictive abortion law, HB 481, which was fortunately blocked by a judge in 2020. As much as Chapek likes to claim that "corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds," the industry sticking together and holding Georgia's feet to the fire contributed to genuine change, something that could happen again if the industry bands together in solidarity against this abhorrent legislation.
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The post The WGA West Is Urging Hollywood To 'Reassess' Production In Florida In Light Of The Don't Say Gay Bill appeared first on /Film.