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The Hollywood Blacklist

November 01, 1987

According to a WGA spokeswoman, Berkowitz stated his concerns in a letter published in the WGAW Newsletter in May. Of the 6,000 screen and television writers who receive the newsletter, she said, one responded with a letter. An edited version of it follows:

Berkowitz equates the Guild asking applicants if they have scabbed with the finger-pointing which occurred at the McCarthy trials during the '50s. I was among many screenwriters who were subpoenaed to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and testified ("uncooperatively") in September of 1951.

It was very evident that the Committee's prime interest was not in the relatively few members of the Communist Party. They asked about any beliefs, associations or statements that did not conform to their standards of orthodoxy. Their objective was to intimidate everyone; to make it dangerous for all Americans to express, or even harbor, ideas that didn't bear their stamp of approval. . . .

I don't question Berkowitz's sincerity, but his analogy has no validity. HUAC inquired into thoughts, opinions, associations. The Guild membership form asks the applicant if he or she has done something that harmed the members of the WGAW.

ALFRED L. LEVITT

Secretary-Treasurer

Membership Finance Committee, Chair, WGA

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