Prominent television producer Ryan Murphy has threatened to sue Warren Leight, a strike captain and member of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Strike Compliance Committee, according to a report by The Hollywood Reporter. This threat led Leight to resign from his positions with the WGA.
The controversy began on June 21 when Leight posted a tweet claiming that members of Murphy’s show crew, american horror story, had informed him that they would be blacklisted if they crossed the WGA picket lines. Murphy’s spokesperson quickly denied the allegations, labeling them “absolute nonsense” and “categorically false.”
After receiving a letter from Murphy’s lawyer, Leight deleted the controversial tweet and issued an apology and retraction. In his statement, Leight referred to his original tweet as “unsubstantiated” and “completely false and inaccurate”.
In response to the threatened litigation, WGA East officers sent a memo to its strike captains, revealing that Leight had stepped down from his roles as co-chairman of the Strike Rules Compliance Committee and as captain.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the WGA said in its memo that “we will continue to picket [Murphy’s] shows” and that the Strike Compliance Committee will investigate all leads regarding potential violations.
(If Murphy is found in violation of strike rules, he can be suspended or expelled from membership, fined, or censured. After 2007-08 the writers are on strikeThe WGA brought members alleged to have broken strike rules before a trial board, like Jay Lenowho has been cleared of wrongdoing).
The internal wrangling comes as news broke on June 20 that Murphy, one of the industry’s most powerful showrunners, was negotiating with Disney to return to the studio with a rich overall deal following the expiration of its $300 million deal with Netflix. In the memo to the captains, WGA officers implored them to remain focused on the fight at hand, stating: “Our enemy in this fight is not other members but AMPTP. If we turn on each other, AMPTP wins.”
This report highlights the ongoing tensions in the entertainment industry as the WGA continues its fight for better conditions for its members.
This article is based on an exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter.