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Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Tuesday December 19, 2017

Cuomo Vetoes TV Diversity Bill

 Cuomo Vetoes TV Diversity Bill

NEW YORK, NY (December 19, 2017) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed a television diversity bill championed by the Writers Guild of America, East and Directors Guild of America.

The legislation would have allocated up to $5 million towards the hiring of women and/or people of color to write or direct television in New York. State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assembly Member Marcos Crespo sponsored the bill that made its way to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk after being decisively passed by the State Senate and Assembly. The legislation had the support of the New York State AFL-CIO, IATSE Local 52, the International Cinematographers Guild IATSE Local 600, the Motion Pictures Editors Guild IATSE Local 700, SAG-AFTRA, and Theatrical Teamsters Local 817 – among many other organizations including Broadway Stages, Eastern Effects, the New York Production Alliance and New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT).

Writers Guild of America, East Executive Director Lowell Peterson said, “We are stunned and disappointed by the Governor’s veto.  New York has missed the chance to make history.  Study after study, testimonial upon testimonial, have proven beyond doubt that the television industry has a major diversity problem.  Women and people of color are vastly underrepresented, particularly as writers and directors, and they have been for many years.  The time has come for concrete action, the kind of action called for in this important legislation – legislation which had broad and deep support across the industry, from individuals and organizations that care deeply about the people who work in the industry and about the industry’s long-term health.  Audiences and taxpayers deserve and demand better.   We applaud Senator Alcantara and Assemblyman Crespo for their leadership, and our friends and colleagues at the Directors Guild of America. We will continue to press for meaningful change.”

Directors Guild of America Eastern Executive Director Neil Dudich said, “We are deeply disappointed by Governor Cuomo’s decision to veto this landmark bill which would have encouraged television employers to move beyond the status quo to consider the full spectrum of New York’s talented directors and writers.  It is thanks to the Governor’s leadership that the hugely successful Empire State Film Production Tax Credit has propelled New York production and industry employment to new highs – and this legislation would have built on that momentum to level the playing field for women people of color who have been underrepresented in the top jobs created behind the camera.  New York is a leader in production incentives, and we look to the state to ensure those benefits extend to all New Yorkers.  We are incredibly grateful to State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo for taking a stand on this important issue and bringing this legislation to the Governor’s desk, to our partners in this endeavor, the Writers Guild of America East, and to New York’s broader labor and film community who provided their support for this important goal.  For decades the DGA has published study after study on the lack of inclusion in television, and we will continue to push for fairness in the hiring of directors in the industry.”

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, news and digital media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit

In the 81 years since its founding in 1936, the DGA has fought for the economic and creative rights of its members; protected their ability to financially benefit from the reuse of their work; established strong pension and health plans; and established jurisdiction in new technologies and distribution platforms. Today we represent more than 17,000 directors and members of the directorial team working in film, television, commercials, new media and other audiovisual media.

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