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NZWG supports US Guilds on “Muslim Ban”

Statement from Allan Baddock – Acting President & the Board of the NZWG

NZWG, Auckland, 31 January 2017: “The New Zealand Writers Guild is troubled by recent moves by the US government to discriminate on the basis of birthplace and the religious beliefs of the community people were born into. The NZWG supports our colleagues in the Writers Guilds of America who have vowed to oppose such measures.

Both East & West Writers Guilds of America have condemned the US President’s “Muslim ban” and expressed their concern that it is restricting film-makers from the banned countries in their legitimate activities.

We stand united with our US counterparts and Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhad and others unfairly affected. New Zealand has a centuries long tradition of welcoming those from other lands, of varying beliefs, and New Zealand writers have always recognised and welcomed differing views for the vitality, depth, and richness they bring to our own views of the world and to our creative lives.

Mass discrimination based on birthplace or religion is not the New Zealand way and we should all make every effort to respect and protect the rights of all people regardless of race, creed, or religion.

Human rights – including the freedoms of speech and religion – define what we stand for as writers and as human beings. We believe they are essential to all in building healthy, productive communities. What threatens one sector of the community threatens us all.”

New York and Los Angeles – The following is a joint statement from Michael Winship, President, Writers Guild of America East (WGAE), and Howard A. Rodman, President, Writers Guild of America West (WGAW):

“It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into. The Writers Guilds of America, East and West condemn Donald Trump’s profoundly un-American “Muslim ban,” and applaud the Federal Court’s decision to grant a stay that will keep those being held at American airports from being forcibly returned to their countries. Human rights – including the freedoms of speech and religion – are essential to all Americans and to all who come here to build better lives.

“We are especially troubled by reports that Asghar Farhadi, director of THE SALESMAN, which won Best Screenplay at Cannes and is now nominated for an Oscar, may together with his cast and crew be prevented from entering our country. From its early days, the entertainment industry has been built by the imagination of immigrants. Our guilds are unions of storytellers who have always welcomed those from other nations, and of varying beliefs, who wish to share their creativity with America. We are grateful to them, we stand with them, we will fight for them.”

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, West, visit www.wga.org.

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