Carlton Cuse Speaks Out in Letter to Members

The following letter was written by Carlton Cuse and sent today to members of the WGA. His candor and honesty are deeply appreciated by all of us here at UH. The AMPTP is counting on us becoming more divided as time goes on. But we believe the opposite will happen -- is happening, right now. We are staying strong.

To my fellow WGA Members,

I want to clear up any misunderstanding about where I stand.

On November 16 I, regretably, was quoted by a Wall Street Journal reporter saying I was going to perform some of my non-writing, post-production duties on episodes of LOST to protect the show for the fans. However, I'm sure to the delight of the AMPTP, my statement became the story and gave the false impression that there was disunity among showrunners over the issues of this negotiation.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Every showrunner I know, whether producing or not producing, stands in full support of the goals of our guild.

For the past two months I have been working seven days a week on these negotiations alongside my fellow negotiating committee members.

As a committee we did everything we could to get both parties back to the bargaining table this last week. We were fully prepared to enter into the kinds of back-and-forth discussions that are necessary to reach any sort of labor deal. I sincerely hoped this return to the table would lead to real progress.

I was wrong.

In fact, given the events of last Thursday -- and where things currently stand -- I can no longer in good conscience continue to work on my show in any capacity.

What I will be doing is continuing my work as a member of the committee for as long as it takes, contributing in any way I can, to get us the fair and just deal that we must have.

It's going to be an arduous fight.

But make no mistake -- we are united, we are resolute...

And we are indeed ALL IN THIS TOGETHER.


Carlton Cuse


john (not lennon) said...
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Helen said...

"Who once was Lost, but now is found..."

Thanks, Carlton.

Philo T. Farnsworth said...

Carlton you are the best.

AlwaysOnTheLine said...

Are you kidding me? "We're all in this together?" When you were doing "non-writing duties" on your show, you were essentially, CROSSING our picket line, not ON it. You were not in this with the WGA these last five weeks, no matter how you try to sugar coat it, or what "ephiphany" you've suddenly had.

Guild Before Ego said...

Is this the same Carlton Cuse who referred to WGA members who refused to cowtow to the studios by posting their shows "militants" while considering his own self-serving position "moderate"? Disingenous much?

Jeffrey said...

I, as well as MANY, are on the line EVERY DAY and we don't have to martyr ourselves and chastise others to prove our point or that we are better members. Someone thought the were doing the right thing, and now they know what the REAL right thing is. Good for them People make mistakes. And you know what the really cool part of that is - we can learn from them and not make them again. I, as well as most others in this thing, wanted, desperately, to believe those...whispers we were hearing. And when the reality was revealed, we were dismayed and disheartened. But did that stop me from getting up at 4am this morning? No. It made me WANT to get up all the more. I don't like being fucked with and when I am, it creates resolve, not whining. So, alwaysontheline, welcome him back or shut the hell up. You're not helping.

jb_dean said...

You rock, Carlton! We're behind you all the way!!

not a troll said...

Your show is toast anyway, Carlton.

Guild Before Ego said...

No one's talking about one member being better than anyone other member, but when you actively go against your guild and therefore help the studios ride the strike out that much longer by supplying them product, it's hard to open one's arms and give such a person a big wet kiss.

Anonymous said...

The show runners who choose the moderate path learned last Thursday that you can not be moderate when the forces you confront have no honor, morality, or conscience. The AMPTP exists only destroy the WGA and all the entertainment industry unions that stand in the way of maximized profit. Lesson learned.


lauraholl said...

better late than never i guess.

may their supply of eps dry up all the faster.

AlwaysOnTheLine said...

You're a writer, Jeffrey, but, it's ok to deny a fellow writer freedom of speech when their viewpoint is in contrast to yours? I didn't appreciate, as a union supporter and rather decent human being, being told to "shut the hell up" because I didn't agree with someone's stance. I'm not here to argue. Perhaps, Carlton can now use his position on the negotiating committee more effectively and help end this thing so none of us have to be on any line, anymore.

pleaserecycle said...

As one of the many writers who've had the sometime surreal experience of working with Carlton Cuse I can safely say that his duplicitous behavior both for and simultaneously against writers (he's on the negotiating committee, for Christ's sake!) is typical Carlton. Those of us who've been burned or witnessed a burning by Carlton often debated whether or not he was intentionally evil or just so blinded by the desire to be respected (by fans, by studios, by writers) that his bumbling lapses in honor and ethics were simply the acts of a man in painful need. I think Grey's Law illustrates the Cuse enigma best: " Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice." Anyway, I hope he's sleeping better. Back to the pickets.

Caliban said...

I'm having a hard time taking some of these comments seriously - is there anything to be gained by lashing out at someone who articulates the reasoning behind their decision then admits they made a mistake. Come on - the essence of this strike is that we are all on the same side - and only trolls would hamper this unity. Real WGA don't diss other writers.

Occasional Showrunner said...

I get where many of the moderate showrunners were coming from at the outset of this strike. I've had to wrestle with similar issues in the build-up to previous negotiations. It's difficult to balance the needs of your cast and crew and pride in the final product with the need to make the studios hurt fast and hurt hard. So I can understand why Mr. Cuse chose the path of moderation.

That said I'm also glad that Mr. Cuse has seen that in this instance, unfortunately moderation is not the path to success. I wish we could be reasonable and measured in our dealings with the AMPTP. But alas, tis not to be.

So United We Stand.

Jake Hollywood said...

Like a lot of people I've been on the strike line since day one and expect to be on it a while longer (only the AMPTP knows when they'll come to their senses and offer a fair deal) and I'll welcome Carlton to walk alongside me any day.

Hell, he made a mistake in judgement, who amongst us hasn't?

J. said...

Well said, Carlton. I appreciate your stance and applaud your commitment to the cause.

As for those who are still mad about the past few weeks, please remember that infighting and division among our ranks serves the AMPTP. Bygones, people!

Carlon's letter makes a bold statement and exposes the AMPTP's duplicitous nature to fans across the globe.


Captain Obvious said...

Even if some of you feel you need to hold your noses to do so...


Jake Hollywood said...

Okay, I've forgiven Carlton Cuse...

But I'm not sure about these people:

(and thank you Nikki Finke for this)
Ripley's Believe It Or Not, Strike Edition
In response to all the emails I've received asking if this is true -- yes, it is. AMPTP president Nick Counter's son-in-law is indeed a Hollywood writer. He's WGA member Alex Kurtzman, who partners on scripts with Roberto Orci (Transformers, Mission: Impossible III, The Legend Of Zorro, The Island, Star Trek). Kurtzman is married to Counter's daughter who is also a WGA member.

All I can hope is that they're not on the negotiating committee

The Red Cowboy said...


It is really not helpful to behave like an ass - unless you actually are an ass. Get your facts right. If you gleaned the "Lost" mobisode info from the NYTimes article of NOV19, you should have expended the energy to check the correction issued NOV22. The 13 mobisodes were written by a number of staff members, including Mr. Cuse and Mr. Lindelof.

Helen said...

If I were writing a movie about an unfair corporation that was exploiting its workers, I would create a character with a name like Carlton Cuse (only more believable). He would be successful and well-respected in the community and he'd voice moderation and a belief in the corporation's ability to negotiate fairly. As time went on and the corporation stalled and obfuscated, the Carlton Cuse character would become increasingly disillusioned. His decision to throw his complete, unquestioned support to the workers would be a turning point in the movie. It's the perfect way to show--not tell--how the corporation abused its power, shirked its duties and ignored the writers' cries for fairness.

I think it's great that Carlton provided us with our first act break. Act Two starts tomorrow.

Wes said...

It looks to me like half of the posts here are astroturf. Judging from their brand new (and empty) profiles and their extreme, divisive attitudes, I'd say that none of AlwaysOnTheLine, Guild Before Ego, pleaserecycle, swenders are actual people (let alone guild members).

This is like a text book example of the items from the playbook post: attack the leadership and create divisions in the membership. Don't fall for their lies.

Angel said...

To have a moderate turn militant union supporter....that is not a bad thing. Unless you are the AMPTP.

Regardless of personal feelings, a voice is a voice is a voice. To dismiss it is to do yourselves a great disservice.

Jake Hollywood said...

Golly, Wes, I really enjoyed you profile, too. Well, okay, I couldn't actually read it, but you know what I meant, right?

swenders said...

Re: mobisodes. I stand corrected. My apologies.

That said, he's still damaged goods on the negotiating committee.

jiminy pickets said...

This is my first post. But I also have proudly picketed every day alongside "alwaysontheline" and "guild before ego". We're not trying to be divisive, just trying to keep things in perspective -- while not gagging at all the "Carlton you are the best" hero-worship going on.

I'm glad Mr. Cuse admits to making a mistake and am thrilled he has decided to finally stop working, but the fact is, his performing "non-writing duties" was a slap in the face to all guild members, and most likely extended the length of the strike. The majority of show-runners were smart enough to understand the game we were playing, and who our opponent was. Mr. Cuse, by his own admission, was not. Given the poor judgement he exercised over the past few weeks, my feeling is that the best way he can help our cause is by resigning from the negotiating committee immediately. At best he's a sap, at worst, a duplicitous dirtbag.

That said, I will be picketing for my guild every day until the end of this strike, and I will gladly picket alongside Mr. Cuse.

I would just feel a lot better if he wasn't negotiating on my behalf.

United We Stand.

Evan Waters said...

So what would he have to do to earn forgiveness, then?

Shawna said...

Speaking as a Lost fan (yes, we still exist, even after the first half of Season 3... and the sad departure of Javi, one of the show's best writers ever.)

We can wait. We will wait. We will wait because what matters is that the people who create what we love get what they deserve. Ultimately, the studios only provide a delivery platform for our shows. They don't provide the shows themselves, and that's what we're watching. I give a rat's heiney about whether I'm watching ABC or something owned by Disney or watching something on YouTube. It's content that matters, and the people who create that content are therefore the ones I'm behind.

Also: I don't pretend to know what Carlton was thinking, but I'm willing to cut him some slack. We've all made mistakes in hoping that the guys in suits would listen to reason (OK, so my guy in a suit was my ex's dad, but work with me, here.)

Also, as for the Carlton sucks people? You don't suppose some of those may be plants trying to divide the group, do you?

Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

What a joke statement by Carlton.

Of coarse he can say how he is now fully committed to helping the cause....his show (Lost) just finished shooting last Friday.

Tell us Carlton...just how many Mobisodes did you write and shoot in the last two weeks.

paint the town red said...

While we've been on the line, Mr. Cuse has been collecting paychecks... How much will you be donating to the strike fund, Mr. Cuse?

Piers said...

He made a mistake; now he's back on the side of the angels.

This is a good thing. I'm not going to cast any stones here.

john (not lennon) said...
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How's this B*%tch? said...

Now this makes more sense! All the previous talk about how the trolls were pretending to be the trades in order to cause a rift between them and the WGA made no sense at all.

But now you really are turning against one another. Be careful. You may not think you need our support, but you do NEED one another! There are too few of you to allow yourselves to be divided.

john (not lennon) said...
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Suzy said...

Welcome back to the right side. You can say whatever you want Carlton, but you of all people should not have gone back to your show for any reason until this is over. Of course the AMPTP will say anything to make you and the other show runners think it's okay to edit the remaining episodes and supply them with product. Duh!

I'm glad you saw the light. Keep following it.

jiminy pickets said...

Having just returned from my stint on the picket line, I would like to say that I have forgiven Mr. Cuse, if he is indeed serious about his apology. But if he is interested in gaining the respect of at least this guild member, he should do the right thing by resigning from the negotiating committee. He is either ethically challenged or incredibly naive -- not someone who should be negotiating for us.

And to those who say we should keep our mouths shut, voicing our opinions diminishes neither our resolve nor our solidarity. This is the WGA, not the Bush administration.

United We Stand.

john (not lennon) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ayem Petey Peetrole said...

I am open-minded about the “Carlton Cuse” issue. And, as such, may I take a look at what the “opposition” has made clear?

Give some credence to alwaysontheline. Cuse crossed our picket line. He kept a production going while the rest of us walked back and forth, outside where he was working, or someplace like it.

And, then, guild before ego gives us the trenchant observation that Cuse called the striking WGA members who streamed their own shows on the internet “militants.” And now, Cuse wants to be a “militant,” too. -- Ugghhhh.

And, not a troll put it in the most simple terms: << Your show is toast, anyway, Carlton. >>

Go back up the page -- right now -- and re-read what pleaserecycle wrote. This is a person who has actually worked with Carlton. I think the portrait painted therein tells us everything. A hyphenate, a producer-writer (the typical split personality during WGA strikes), runs off to quickly abandon the writers to be a producer, then runs back to us -- the writers. And, according to pleaserecycle, Cuse was a mean-spirited writer-killer on any given show. Not exactly my role model.

I think the comment by pleaserecycle is courageous. I’m sure there will be all kinds of people jumping onto the bandwagon about how all this blogging should never be about “gossip” or “backbiting,” etc. -- The hell with that. I want to know if someone is an asshole in real life. How else can I judge the person? Deem the person unfit to be on the negotiating committee?

Yes, jiminy pickets -- Cuse should get off the negotiating committee -- or we should take him off. We can do that, you know.

And, from local44united --

<< Of coarse (sic) he can say how he is now fully committed to helping the cause....his show just finished shooting last Friday. >>

Aw, yeah! Great point! LOL!!!

And, as pointed out by how's this b*%tch? ...

<< ... All the previous talk about how the trolls were pretending to be the trades in order to cause a rift between them and the WGA made no sense at all. >>

Uh - hell-o! Of course it makes no sense at all. Trolls? Here? On this blogsite? What ridiculous paranoia! It makes NO sense!

May I please end with another comment by jiminy pickets?

<< ... to those who say we should keep our mouths shut, voicing our opinions diminishes neither our resolve nor our solidarity. This is the WGA, not the Bush administration. >>

YEAH! Writers, like everyone else, are INDIVIDUAL HUMAN BEINGS. We are not a collective, monolithic MASS. We disagree with each other. We have our own individual, personal opinions. The expectation that we would slap on some fake “unified front,” even when we’re at war, when we are allegedly trying to “get something” for “all of us,” is absurd. The WGA union bosses and thugs cannot make us all shut up, or toe the party line!

Maybe some of us should start our own union!

makomk said...

"The show runners who choose the moderate path learned last Thursday that you can not be moderate when the forces you confront have no honor, morality, or conscience. The AMPTP exists only destroy the WGA and all the entertainment industry unions that stand in the way of maximized profit. Lesson learned."

Actually, I suspect it's just as likely that they realised that a lot of loudly-spoken WGA members and supporters were going to attack them loudly and publicly until they backed down. Take a look at some of the comments on this entry for an example...

glen1989 said...

carlton was absolutley right to carry on with his show "lost" through the strike he was thinking about the fans and how long they have had to wait for the new series and he wanted to keep them happy is there anything wrong with that? after all isnt that what this business is about, keeping the fans of our programs happy and entertained because if we diddnt do that we'd all be out of a job! let alone be striking and dont get me wrong because i am totaly for the WGA and think that you should get what you deserve!