Stating that the First Amendment is “under attack” by President Donald Trump, leaders of the WGA West today sent their members a scathing letter denouncing him and his administration for trampling on “every principle of justice and truth we hold dear.” The letter was sparked by Trump’s re-tweeting of anti-Muslim videos promulgated by one of the leaders of a right-wing British hate group.
The letter is similar in tone to a statement the guild issued in August, when WGA West leaders called him “a national disgrace” and urged him to resign following his positive comments about white supremacists in the wake of violent protests in Charlottesville that left one anti-Nazi protester dead.
Here is the letter in full, signed by WGA West president David A. Goodman, vice president Marjorie David, secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn and executive director David Young:
“As the officers and executive director of a union devoted to the well-being of writers, we have watched, appalled, as our current administration tramples on every principle of justice and truth we hold dear. The question for us, always, is when to speak out. What is the ‘right time’ when lies are paraded as truth; when racists are praised for their decency; when the press is derided as ‘fake;’ when a child molester is endorsed to smooth the way for an unfair tax cut? If we made a statement each time, we’d be writing to you every day.
“Today, though, the vile display of naked prejudice reached another low. The President of the United States tweeted hate videos published by a far right group in England. Subsequent to that, the White House justified it, claiming that it isn’t clear whether these terrible videos are even real, but stressing that the ‘threat’ is genuine. In other words, Muslims, simply by existing, are a threat. Even writing such a sentence is nauseating.
“First Amendment guarantees of religious freedom, freedom of the press and freedom of speech are under attack in ways many of us would not have believed possible before last year. It is hard to know what to do, since even reasoned argument is demeaned and discredited. We have to believe that affirming our beliefs might at least help to undermine the assault.
“It is our obligation as writers and as Americans to stand up for the freedoms we have all fought to maintain. One way to do so is to make it clear that the actions of this administration and those that aid and abet it are intolerable. We will not be quiet or stand down in the face of the erosion of religious freedom, of freedom of the press, of the basic responsibility of our government to avoid lying to us as if the U.S. were a totalitarian dictatorship.
“We know the damage words can do. We know the strength of words to fight lies. We pledge to fight those lies and to march to support First Amendment rights in our work and in our lives.”