On Tuesday, specially trained picketers, members of the Criminal Writing Division of the WGA spread across Hollywood, marking each studio as a "crime scene" with yellow tape. Photographs were taken to document the event. A sister group gathered in Foley Square in Manhattan.
Sponsored by Rene Balcer, Bill Fordes, David Slack, Kit Boss, Mark Goffman, and Lynne Litt, a three-count Bill of Indictment was filed by writers from over 35 crime and police television series, charging the AMPTP with, in part:
"Conspiracy to steal the Internet and all revenues therefrom and deprive by fraud, trick, and deceit entertainment industry workers of their financial future and well-being, and with conspiracy to conduct meaningless negotiations with depraved indifference to the truth and with malice and mendacity aforethought."Luminaries from the WGA and SAG joined in the rallies, shining a bright light on the "crimes" of the AMPTP.
In New York Gina Gianfriddo, Linus Roche, and Jeremy Sisto along with dozens of others braved the cold to state their case.
More than 500 picketers filled the sidewalk in front of AMPTP Headquarters in Encino.
Marg Helgenberger read the indictment. The casts of CSI, Lost, Num3ers, The Unit, Dexter, The Shield, Law and Order, Bones, Reno 911, and The Sarah Silverman Program were represented by, among others, Harold Perrineau, Gary Dourdan, Regina Taylor, Robert Patrick, C.S. Lee, Alana de la Garza, Benito Martinez, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, David Rees Snell, David Marciano, Rob Morrow, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant, Kerri Kenney, and Brian Posehn.
Rene Balcer spoke to the heart of the event when he said:
"As crime writers, we navigate a morally ambiguous world but we do so without ever losing sight of the moral center. We know what's right. Through our characters of working-class cops and private detectives, lowly-paid lawyers and prosecutors, we speak truth to power.
If we know anything at all, we know bad behavior when we see it. And we’ve seen plenty of it from the AMPTP in the last six weeks. We're in a war on the middle class waged by multinational conglomerates. We're witnessing an assault on fairness, on a basic tenet of American enterprise - that if you create something, you should share in its success. We went on strike in defense of that principle. And it's for that principle that we remain on strike."
After the speeches were made, the AMPTP was invited to come outside and engage in a dialogue. But the AMPTP was nowhere in sight. They weren't at the City Council Meeting the next day either. Maybe everyone had left for an early vacation.
If the AMPTP reps were looking out their windows on Tuesday, they saw that the picketers were unified, vocal, and focused.
They had heard the chants before. "We're at the table, where are you?"
They heard it again on Tuesday. "2-4-6-8, Counter won't negotiate!"
They'll keep hearing it. "Come back to table. Give us a fair deal."
The strike isn't going away because the congloms want it to. The strike will stop when the AMPTP comes back to the table and discusses the issues, fairly and honestly.
This report was filed with the greatly appreciated assistance of David Slack, Lynne Litt, Chad Daniel, Bill Fordes, Kit Boss, and Rene Balcer.