A fourth candidate for the Writers Guild of America West’s board has dropped out of the race in order to support the guild’s hardline stance on Hollywood agents.
Joshua Hale Fialkov made the announcement Friday, three days after Rob Forman, Ed Herro and Chris Roessner all announced they had withdrawn from the contest for the same reason. The four dropouts mean that there are now 17 candidates for eight open board seats in a contest that’s viewed as a referendum on the WGA’s hard-nosed approach. Election results will be announced on Sept. 16.
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Craig Mazin dropped out of the election last week as a vice presidential candidate due to concerns over a family member’s health. Mazin was a running mate with Phyllis Nagy, who is challenging WGA West president David Goodman on a platform that the WGA needs to get back to the bargaining table after six weeks of staying away. Nick Jones Jr. is also part of the slate as a candidate for secretary-treasurer, while Ayelet Waldman, Jason Fuchs, Ashley Miller, Sarah Treem and Rasheed Newson have expressed opposition to Goodman’s approach.
Goodman declared on June 20 that the guild would no long negotiate with the Association of Talent Agencies and instead hold individual negotiations with nine agencies. One of those nine, Kaplan Stahler, subsequently signed a deal in which the agency agreed that it would not take packaging fees or engage in affiliate production.
Fialkov’s credits include “The Wisdom of the Crowd” and “The Code.” He said in his statement that Goodman’s strategy needs to be endorsed by the members.
“In the short time I’ve known David Goodman he has more than proven to live up to his name,” he said. “I’ve seen him give his passion in a difficult fight at a great personal cost. As his opponents have said since joining the race, having that spotlight on you feels an awful lot like having a target on your back. Watching David deal with members – both in favor and against, true-believers and never-wills, angry and apathetic — has been a lesson in leadership and service that I’ll always remember.”
He also endorsed Goodman ally Marjorie David, who is seeking re-election as vice president; Secretary-treasurer candidate Michele Mulroney; incumbent board members Meredith Stiehm, Nicole Yorkin, Luvh Rahke and Angelina Burnett; and board candidate Liz Alper, citing her work in building the mechanisms for WGA members to be employed without using agents.
Besides Kaplan Stahler, two other mid-size agencies — Verve and Buchwald — have signed agreements with the WGA that ban packaging fees and affiliate production.
“Finally, and most of all, I implore you to please vote,” Fialkov said. “We are a union. A Democracy. These elections are a chance for your voice to be heard. Just like in the outside world, if you don’t vote, you’re giving up your chance to be a part of your solution – whatever side that solution may fall on.”
Turnout in WGA elections has tended to be less than 30% but the agency issue is likely to result in a far higher participation in this contest.