TV Honor Society Rejects Request for Resolution Denouncing Political Discrimination (Exclusive)
Author of "Primetime Propaganda" book calls on Norman Lear, founder of The Caucus For Producers, Writers & Directors, to weigh in on controversy created by video snippets that continue to hit the Internet.
An organization of powerful TV executives has rejected the notion it should pass a resolution denouncing political discrimination in the industry.
The idea was brought before The Caucus for Producers, Writers & Directors by some of its more conservative members in light of video released online that has some of their colleagues suggesting that it’s okay to shun non-liberals.
Two members, Lionel Chetwynd and Norman Powell, have already quit the Caucus in protest. Chetwynd specifically highlighted comments by colleague Vin Di Bona. The creator of America’s Funniest Home Videos says in one of the online videos that he approves of liberals discriminating against conservatives.
Chairman Dennis Doty emailed members of the Caucus Steering Committee news of Powell’s and Chetwynd’s resignation, and he included the paragraph: “The Caucus is a non-political organization and does not support political views as an organization. Of course all our members independently may speak out on any issues as a First Amendment right.”
Some members, though, told The Hollywood Reporter, on condition of anonymity, that the claim of being "non-political" is disingenous, considering the Caucus prides itself on evaluating political activities that affect the entertainment industry and it often invites political heavyweights to speak at its gatherings.
They also complain of hypocrisy, given that item five in the Caucus’s “Television Creative Bill of Rights” stipulates “the right of diverse ideas,” which they say seems unlikely if members of the liberal majority are allowed to discriminate against the conservative minority.
The videos in question are portions of interviews that Ben Shapiro conducted with TV-industry elites for his just-released book, Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV.
THR revealed the first batch of videos a week ago and Shapiro has been slowly rolling out more ever since.
The latest one is from Nicholas Meyer, director of The Day After, one of the most successful TV movies in history.
In the video, Shapiro says to Meyer, “Criticism from the right is usually that right-wingers get discriminated against.” Meyer responds: “Well, I hope so.” (Video is below).
Meyer, though, is not listed as a member at the Caucus website.
Meanwhile, Shapiro has been pressuring Caucus co-founder Norman Lear to offer his opinion of the controversy. In a column for the conservative website Townhall.com, Shapiro writes: “It’s time for Hollywood’s free speech advocates to be counted. Where is Norman Lear, the founder of the Caucus and the liberal First Amendment organization People For the American Way?”
Lear, who was unavailable to comment, co-founded the Caucus in 1977 and People for the American Way four years later.
In his column, Shapiro refers to a “crusade for a free and open Hollywood” that will not end “until Hollywood becomes a First Amendment town once again.”
Chetwynd seems to be going to mat on the issue of alleged discrimination against conservatives in Hollywood, and recently dragged the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences into the fray.
Chetwynd wrote a letter to Academy Chairman John Shaffner that he mailed to him along with his uncompleted membership renewal form.
“While I do not object to producers inserting their personal views, political and otherwise, in their programs, I take serious exception to the overt political prejudice of so many members of the Academy,” he writes in his letter dated June 8.
“To support discrimination against a political point of view – as called for or approved by many Academy members – is the exact equivalent to Blacklisting,” Chetwynd wrote.
Chetwynd's letter says he'll renew his membership after the Academy issues a public statement “deploring all forms of prejudice, including discrimination against political views unpopular in Hollywood.”
The Caucus and the Academy didn't respond to requests for comment.