Press Room

Breaking news, press releases and statements from the Writers Guild of America, East

Thursday June 22, 2017

WGA East, DGA Backed TV Diversity Bill Passes In The New York State Senate and Assembly

NEW YORK, NY (June 22, 2017) – New York’s elected leaders have taken decisive action to make storytelling more diverse, to ensure that the state’s television industry can continue to be a vital engine for the state’s economic growth.

It is not surprising that people in television tend to get hired based on who they know, which might leave a lot of talented, dedicated storytellers on the sidelines.  The landmark bill would commit the state to incentivize companies to hire women and people of color to write and direct television in New York.

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) are grateful to Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo for shepherding an important bill through their respective chambers.  Their legislation, which enjoyed the support of the WGAE, the DGA, and all of the other entertainment industry unions and allies such as the New York State AFL-CIO and Broadway Stages, would create a tax incentive to hire women and people of color to write and direct television in New York.  To get this bill to the finish line, there’s more to be done – the tax credit will need to be approved by the Governor, and appropriated in the state budget – and we are committed to seeing it through.

“People in the TV industry have understood for years that enhancing the diversity of writing and directing improves the stories that appear on screen,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “The missing link for policymakers has been putting money at the point of hire, and this legislation is an important step in that direction.”

“For years the DGA has pushed the industry to change their imbalanced hiring practices — so that talent, and talent alone, is the defining factor,” said Neil Dudich, Eastern Executive Director of the Directors Guild of America. “By encouraging studios, networks and producers to discover the talented New York TV directors and writers that are out there in abundance, this bill can be a meaningful step forward in establishing a level playing field for all.”

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit


Back to top