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Gore Vidal vs. Guild

November 28, 1987

Gore Vidal is suing Writers Guild of America West, Writers Guild of America East, Steve Shagan and Does 1 through 500 re: credits on "The Sicilian" ("Cimino's Much-Publicized 'Sicilian' Sinks at Box-Office," by Jack Mathews, Nov. 12).

I am a member of the guild and on the board of directors, but this is a private opinion. The guild's procedure as sole arbiter of credits has been in place since virtually its inception. An annual list of arbiters is sent to all members. Names can be challenged and a member can request his/her name to be removed.

Vidal has been a member of the guild since 1955 and has participated in at least one other arbitration ("Ben-Hur," 1959), so he has been well aware of the procedure for 32 years.

I have arbitrated and been arbitrated. I have won some, lost some. I would no more impeach the integrity of my peers to determine my credits than I would want my integrity impeached when I arbitrate.

Above all, anonymity of the arbitrators must be ensured to forestall reprisals for determinations rendered.

Vidal states that he is being "noble" in pursuing the suit. I differ. Substitute "publicity."

OLIVER CRAWFORD

Los Angeles

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