WGA Still Doesn’t Get It

Variety reports that The Writers Guild of America’s board voted 11-3 to rescind their decision to honor ex-WGA president Victoria Riskin with the Valentine Davies Award for her contributions to the industry and the community at large.

The big question is why they voted in favor of it 7-6 before, considering that Riskin resigned in a scandal that revealed she wasn’t an active member and, therefore, was  never qualified to be President in the first place (Her successor Charles Holland was forced to resign two months later when the LA Times revealed he’d, um, fictionalized his military service record and his college football achievements).

Despite the vote, there are still members of the WGA leadership… including secretary-treasurer and current presidential candidate Patric Verrone…who don’t get why it was a really, really stupid idea to honor Riskin so soon after she’d embarrassed the Guild with her actions.

Allan Burns [Chairman of the Awards Panel] told Daily Variety he was "stunned" at the board’s vote. He
insisted the awards panel tapped Riskin strictly because of her qualifications
and asserted that there was no concern that naming Riskin would create any
subsequent controversy.

"It’s a slap in the face to the awards committee," Burns added. "I don’t
think the board understands what the award is about."

How clueless can Burns be? He didn’t realize the choice would create controversy? How couldn’t he?? Apparently, even Dan Petrie, our current president and a man I greatly respect, doesnt’ get it either.  He told Variety:

"I would hope that these judgments would be tempered by compassion for someone
who has already suffered and, for that matter, for a Guild that has already

She brought the suffering on herself by running for office when she knew she wasn’t qualified to serve. And The Guild brought the suffering on itself by not doing their job confirming her work status before she ran and, now, by naming her for this award so soon after the scandal. I won’t even go into the miss-steps surrounding Holland and their vote of confidence in someone who was so clearly being dishonest. I haven’t been very proud of my Guild membership lately.

But some good has come out of this latest embarrassing episode:  It’s going to help me, and a lot of other members, make up our minds about who to vote for in the upcoming election.

5 thoughts on “WGA Still Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Lee:
    Pretty amazing, huh? I was very happy to see your post here, particularly because I was the Board member who moved immediately to rescind the vote. The vote to give her the award happened during a special Board meeting that was ostensibly supposed to be about organizing.
    That special meeting barely had a quorum. Many of us simply couldn’t make it on such short notice. Nor was there mention of Riskin’s name in the agenda.
    Verrone and Elias Davis both voted against rescinding. David N. Weiss abstained. All three are running together as part of the NewWGA slate.
    I’m supporting the Common Sense folks.
    Check out: http://commonsensewga.org

  2. “I would hope that these judgments would be tempered by compassion for someone who has already suffered and, for that matter, for a Guild that has already suffered.”
    Not a member of the guild or anything, just an aspiring writer at this stage, but in pub language it could translate as..
    She stuffed up and got caught, we stuffed up and got caught, can’t everyone just forget about it and move on…….look over there, there’s an election!


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