Writer’s Guild of America West Blasts Hollywood For Lack Of Middle Eastern Inclusion
Members of the Writer’s Guild of America West’s Middle Eastern Writers’ committee have written an open letter to Hollywood to be more inclusive when it comes to Middle Eastern stories.
The Committee’s Annual Report showed that only 0.3% of Middle Eastern Screen and TV writers were employed this past year compared to other ethnic groups. This report comes as the committee reaches its first anniversary of being formed. The letter asked the industry to be less stereotypical when it comes to Middle Eastern storylines and work with their writers who are eager to create a different perspective.
“We find ourselves at a cultural inflection point, and we’re asking for your allyship to improve this number,” the committee wrote.
The letter also details the success of Hulu’s Ramy, TBS’s Chad and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, the kind of productions WGA West wants to be portrayed to the public show. It is only a small example of the work Middle Eastern writers can create and how important it is for MENA (Middle East and North African) stories to be shown in films and television.
“Unfortunately, these stories are typically few and far between,” the letter states. “We’re often branded as one-dimensional, naïve foreigners with funny accents, stereotypical, shady businesspeople, and too often, our identities seem to be intrinsically tied to the War on terror and being America’s number one enemy.”
The goal of the committee is “to boost visibility and employment of Middle Eastern writers within the film and television industry while celebrating and promoting accurate portrayals of Middle Eastern characters in all media.”
More than 50 members of the committee signed the letter including Ramon Bahini, writer-director of White Tiger, and Sam Esmail, writer-producer-director of Homecoming.
“We all want to see change, but we know we can’t do it alone. Let’s continue this conversation. We partner with you. We look forward to hearing our voices and being represented throughout the industry.”