‘Wyatt Earp’ Writer Quits Guild Over Failure to Condemn Israel Attack

A 56-year veteran of the Writers Guild of America West is becoming a Financial Core (Fi-Core) non-member over the union’s lack of official statement about Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel.

Dan Gordon, the writer of Wyatt Earp with Kevin Costner and The Hurricane with Denzel Washington, is intending to inform the WGA West on Tuesday that he is renouncing his membership as a result of the guild’s silence on the Oct. 7 assault on the country that killed 1,400 people, many of them civilians.

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“When you sit there and say there has not been an act of this magnitude, a tragedy of this magnitude befall Jewish people since Nazi Germany and you can’t find language to condemn it? And you’re writers? It’s staggering,” Gordon told The Hollywood Reporter. The scribe, who counts Highway to Heaven among his lengthy list of credits, said his adopted sister “just escaped being massacred” as her neighboring kibbutz was attacked by terrorists. He planned to send his formal letter to the WGA declaring his Fi-Core status out via FedEx on Tuesday in accordance with guild bylaws.

THR has gone out to the WGA West for comment.

In the letter Gordon intends to send, which was obtained by THR, Gordon tells WGA membership administrator Patrick Cannon and assistant executive director Ellen Stutzman that the union’s lack of statement is “appalling.” He writes, “The failure of the Guild’s leadership to issue even the mildest condemnation of the worst massacre of a religious minority in the Middle East since ISIS carried out similar atrocities against the Yezidis is appalling. It is corrosive to me as a writer and repugnant to every fiber of my being as a person of conscience.”

Gordon adds, “I am resigning my membership not because I wish to work on non union projects nor cross any picket line, but because I no longer wish to be a fellow traveller with those who hide behind the fetid veil of a morally bankrupt wokeism and stand silent in the face of unadulterated evil.”

Gordon noted in his letter that he’s had four films released this year, including Irena’s Vow, the story of a 20-year-old Polish-Catholic girl who hid 12 Jews in the basement of a German major’s house for nearly a year. The film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, is based on a play Gordon wrote that was on Broadway in 2009.

Reached on Tuesday afternoon, following the WGA West’s extensive statement about the union’s lack of response, Gordon stuck by his decision to go Fi-Core: “It doesn’t change my decision. It’s pusillanimous and there’s nothing to write home about in it,” he said in a statement to THR.

Going Fi-Core is a serious and permanent decision: By doing so, members are no longer bound by the union’s working rules or strike rules and thus cannot vote, attend guild meetings or participate in the Writers Guild of America Awards. “In the past, some of these writers have asked to rejoin the WGA after a strike or other conflict was resolved,” the WGA West writes in its explanation of Fi-Core status. “The Board of Director’s policy has long been to deny these requests. If members feel they can choose Fi-core status and then return, there is less incentive to stay part of the Guild membership when the going gets tough. Fi-core is forever.” Past writers who have gone Fi-Core include Sylvester Stallone, George Clooney, John Ridley, Robert Rodriguez and Steven Soderbergh.

Top leaders from the WGA East, in a message to members Monday, explained that a recent restructuring of the guild has changed its practices on public statements. Due to recent, aggressive organizing by the eastern branch of the union, journalists at present make up 40 percent of its membership. “Such statements hindered journalist members’ work and divided rather than united us. Since the referendum, we have made two such statements, both about the protection of reporters,” read the note attributed to leadership, including president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen.

The leaders acknowledged that not taking an official stand would likely be controversial. “We realize this will strike some of you as inadequate,” the message stated. “We also realize that our own personal sentiments about the atrocities in Israel committed by Hamas on Oct. 7 and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza will not suffice. Representing a diversity of workers means our union is strong enough to hold many different views. However, we want to be clear: There is no place in this Guild — none at all — for antisemitism or Islamophobia.”

Meanwhile, the WGA’s Western branch has yet to issue any official statement regarding the conflict.

THR previously reported that 75 WGA members convened Friday for a 90-minute Zoom meeting to express disappointment that the union had not joined other guilds — including SAG-AFTRA and the DGA — in condemning Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack. Multiple sources told THR at the time that the WGA board remained divided on a response and feared that some activist members would take issue with any message of support for Israel.

In an open letter issued Friday, a group of writers called out the WGA for not denouncing the Hamas terrorist attacks. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations in the U.S., supported the letter in its own statement that day.

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