Male and Pale is Stale: Responses to an Open Letter to the WGA  Image

Male and Pale is Stale: Responses to an Open Letter to the WGA 

By Chris Gore | February 1, 2024

The only constant in entertainment is change. Industry veterans understand that dramatic pivots in the way that Hollywood does business are the only thing that can be counted upon. But recent shifts have veteran writers concerned. Part of this has to do with the WGA‘s requirement that new members “check boxes” to identify themselves so that this data may be used in the hiring process. A recent open letter to the Writers Guild of America, written by a WGA member, is saying out loud what so many in the industry fear to say. And that is that radical voices have taken hold in Hollywood and are more concerned with pushing ideology and messaging rather than entertaining an audience. 

As a result, the money generated by the industry has seen a remarkably noticeable drop. The rise of the term “flop buster” (in response to so many films like Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny underperforming at the box office) seems to be directly related to mainstream audiences’ wholesale rejection of the over-messaging they see hijacking entertainment. Not to mention the destruction of intellectual property that normally performed successfully with fans. Box office receipts for films like The Marvels, among others, have writers questioning the wisdom of pushing identity/”the message” over storytelling with a broad appeal. 

“…’male and pale is stale’ is driving the type of films and TV shows that get made…”

The mainstream industry trades have yet to weigh in on this open letter. However, the story has resulted in a flood of emails sent to Film Threat. These correspondences paint a picture of an industry where fear of speaking out could result in one being “blacklisted” as problematic. You must adhere to this new ideology or face the prospect of unemployment forever. A phrase we heard over and over again is this: “male and pale is stale.” If one were to reword this statement another way, it may result in accusations of racism. But this view is widely accepted all over Hollywood. Like a mantra, “male and pale is stale” is driving the types of films and TV shows that get made. 

What industry outsiders may not understand is that Hollywood is a freelance business where work is scarce and in the current day, one must constantly demonstrate allegiance to specific ideals or face the prospect of never working. The fear is palpable and a dominant force hanging over the heads of those who wish to simply make a living working in entertainment. 

These emails sent to Film Threat have been edited to protect the identities of those who wish to speak out, all of which requested to remain anonymous. The letters came from Emmy and Oscar-nominated talents working at various levels in the industry. Additionally, letters that were repetitive or simply echoed points already stated have been left out. 

What follows are emails sent to Film Threat in response to the open letter to the WGA. Draw whatever conclusions you wish, but one thing is certain – Hollywood is changing and many feel it may not be for the best. 

If you are a WGA member or work in the industry and have a story to tell or something to add and would like to share your story, on or off the record, contact us.

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  1. […] by the principles of diversity/inclusion/equity. Ace of Spades linked to a post on a website called Film Threat, lamenting the difficulties of writers for TV shows; no cushy writing gigs on a diminishing number […]

  2. Shaun says:

    Thanks Alan and Chris for delivering us the investigative journalism the trades have desperately failed in. Also thank you as well for your humor and informative/entertaining content pertaining to movies. Filmthreat has become a recurring highlight for me.

  3. Lee Smith says:

    I have two questions. First, Why are white males paying to be a member of WGA if they are going to be discriminated against, it’s like they are paying for the privilege to cut their own throats. . Second, why aren’t white males filing discrimination lawsuits against the WGA, the last time I checked it’s illegal to base hiring decisions on race or sex.

    • Blacklisted and Bullied says:

      What was the answer when you flipped it and asked why Blacks and Latinos stayed members during all the decades including this one in which we were discriminated against? For me, the answer is simple. Helen n Al Levitt. Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney were murdered, yes. But you have to keep fighting for what you think is right. As you know from a prior post, I was attacked in the WGA building, shoved and locked in a room 15 feet from the board room with the assailant blocking the door and members ignoring my calls for help.

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  5. Daxton Brown says:

    Gee, and you are surprised this is happening? I am a conservative writer of nonfiction and fiction. I wrote Senator Harry Reid’s biography, of which the movie Casino if a small subset. I was told by literary agents not to bother submitting it because it was too controversial and wouldn’t be picked up by the liberal publishing universe.
    My magnum opus, I’ve worked on for 30 years, predicted a Covid scenario and AI wars plus a civil war over wokeness. It has no chance unless I go Indy.

  6. Biku says:

    How is this legal? I thought hiring by race and gender…Especially on a scale this size….Was pretty much illegal.

    • Ed says:

      The Free Press ran an article in January of 2022 called “Hollywood’s New Rules: The old boys club is dead. But a new one—with its own litmus tests and landmines—is rapidly replacing it. ‘This is all going to end in a giant class-action…”. I personally believe that massive class-action lawsuits are indeed are coming, which is going help rid Hollywood of this cancerous DEI.

  7. Ed says:

    If an 18 year old white heterosexual male from the mid-west with no connections to anyone in the entertainment industry whatsoever decided that he wanted pursue a career as filmmaker, I would advise him against it. Not because of lack of effort, talent or persistence, but because he would be denied any chance at making a career for himself in this new age of Hollywood. His work would go unread, un-watched and rejected before it would ever be judged on the merits or quality of the work itself. This also applies to the independent film world just as much, as financiers and distributors have also become just as guilty in participating with DEI.

  8. Matt says:

    The safest check box you can lie about is non-binary. If they accuse you of lying, just say to them “prove that I’m not non-binary.” No one can prove that they ARE non-binary. You could also lie about your race. It’s not like they’ll ask you to take an ancestry test.

  9. Man With A Camera says:

    This doesn’t seem isolated to the WGA. It feels like a form of communism has spread industry-wide. Using their counter-productive exemption, SAG allows producers to pay the actors less money if a percentage of cast falls under DEI. The only incentive in that seems to be to wipe out Caucasians from the zeitgeist of American stories, cinema, and culture. And this corporate idea of redesigning famous IP characters to form a new world looks awfully familiar to all those historical statues and monuments being removed and wiped out of existence. All of the above are communist constructs. I think Nerdrotic hit a target when he points out members are afraid of their own unions. And to think this is not affecting streaming and distribution yet is shortsighted.

  10. Blacklisted and Bullied says:

    I was dragged into a side room where the WGA board met, held captive, and harassed by a top WGA male exec. There was one female staffer present. Finally, he let me go and I ran from the building. The WGA Board of Directors blacklisted me because the guy was more important to negotiations than I was. He had me banned from WGA meetings to prevent me from talking to anyone. Because we were in the middle of negotiations, the board’s silence re the attack was more important than me. He recently retired rich.

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  12. Truffy says:

    Male and pale is stale. And, on average, 30% of your audience.

    • Bloat McQueen says:

      I keep coming back to this too.

      Making money can smooth over a lot of problems and they were able to coast for a while during the height of Marvel.

      I just feel the bills are finally coming due and eventually they will have to make DRASTIC changes or risk completely sinking the ship

  13. Herm says:

    These letters are revealing of the cognitive dissonance of these writers. Almost to a one these writers proclaim being pro-diversity, progressive, and liberal–yet they somehow can’t connect the dots between that ideology and their own displacement in the industry. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time in the culture war trenches understands the lunacy of the progressive cause and that it could (and does) only result in the disenfranchisement of the majority. “What did you think decolonization meant?” goes the refrain on twitter. “It’s like we’re supposed to just shut up and go away.” says one writer, and yes, that is precisely what the ascendant diverse coterie desires. They wish you starved, silenced, and consigned to the redacted annals of TV history. Had these writers, for a moment, considered themselves as having a collective interests in preventing the toxic DEI ideology from gaining traction the damage wrought might not have been so catastrophic. Make no mistake, the diversity commissars simply want ‘non-diverse” people to be utterly purged. The liberal, progressive, writers have handed them the keys to accomplish this.

  14. BubbaZanetti says:

    Funny how, the powerful and power hungry in the entertainment industry, have so much in common with the Nazi Party. It must be a natural flow of those with no, to low self esteem, emotionally damaged egos, craving, needing/wanting attention from the world, desire power (especially power over others) above all else, have zero spiritual development, no relationship with their Creator, and are suffering from various mental illnesses, especially those related to gender dysphoria, to find themselves in goosestep with fascist ideals. Liberalism/Progressivism is a gateway drug to Communist/Fascist addiction, and those drugs have killed billions.

  15. EnoughDEI says:

    Female, gay, and Brown brings sales down

  16. […] an email sent to Film Threat, the anonymous WGA member shared five points that confirm nearly all theories about why the Marvel […]

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