Writers will halt pickets for Taylor benefit



Elizabeth Taylor has persuaded striking TV and film writers to briefly put down their picket signs.

The Writers Guild of America has agreed not to picket the Paramount Pictures lot on Dec. 1 when actress and AIDS activist Taylor is slated to give a benefit performance of A.R. Gurney's play "Love Letters" with James Earl Jones.

Taylor said she would not cross picket lines if they were still up around the Paramount lot on Dec. 1, which is World AIDS Day. She said she asked the writers union for a "one night dispensation" so she and her guests could enter the studio with a clear conscience.

"The Writers Guild of America has shown great humanity, empathy and courage by allowing our little evening to move forward," Taylor said in a statement Monday.

An after-hours call Monday to the guild seeking confirmation was not returned.

Taylor also expressed support for the striking writers.

"Without the gifts of writers, the world would be rather empty," she said. "I beseech those in power to treat members of the Writers Guild of America with fairness and decency."

Writers and studios are scheduled to resume contract talks on Nov. 26. Writers have been on strike since Nov. 5.

The goal of the one-night performance is to raise $1 million for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.