Beau Willimon Re-Elected as President of Writers Guild of America East

Dave McNary

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Beau Willimon, the playwright and showrunner who launched Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has been re-elected without opposition to a two-year term as president of the Writers Guild of America East.

Willimon also ran unopposed in 2017 to succeed Michael Winship. Kathy McGee was elected to the vice president slot over Phil Pilato. Secretary-treasurer Bob Schneider ran unopposed and was re-elected.

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Incumbents Bonnie Datt, Courtney Simon, David Simon and Amy Sohn were re-elected as freelance members of the WGA East council along with Josh Gondelman and Dru Johnston. Incumbents Kim Kelly, Hamilton Nolan and Pilato were re-elected as staff members on the council.

All of the winning WGA East candidates were endorsed by Willimon’s Unity slate, which supported the guild strategy in the agency fight. About 21% of eligible voters cast ballots.

The announcement comes with the WGA locked in a heated standoff with Hollywood agents over the issues of how agents represent WGA members. The guild required on April 13 that members fire their agents if the agents had not signed a Code of Conduct, which bans agents from taking packaging fees and prohibits agencies from owning production affiliates.

David Simon is a plaintiff in the California lawsuit filed April 17 by the WGA against CAA, WME, UTA and ICM Partners alleging that collecting packaging fees is illegal. That action has been re-filed in federal court. Simon wrote a galvanizing post in March over the issue of packaging, accusing the agencies of theft and fraud.

Unlike the WGA West election, little opposition to the leadership’s hardline stance on agents emerged during the campaign. David Goodman and his allies handily won the contest, in which results were announced Monday. After winning, Goodman promised that WGA leaders would begin meeting soon with individual agencies to sign agreements with the bans on packaging fees and affiliate production.

The WGA East has about 5,000 members working in films and TV. It has managed in recent years to organize an array of staffs at New York-based news web sites, including the Huffington Post, Slate and ThinkProgress.

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