President Donald Trump, himself a former TV star, has been called out by news and entertainment writers for supporting hate speech and violence.
That came in a statement from the Writers Guild of America West Wednesday, Aug. 16, following the President's own statements about violence in Charlottesville. In those, he returned to his initial position that blame should be apportioned on both sides, adding that there were some good people among those attending a rally dominated by white nationalists and racists who had been mistreated by the media.
“The Writers Guild of America West believes in free speech–even from Nazis and white supremacists," said the statement. "But we completely disavow their views, which reflect the worst stains of American history, a history that still lives through racism, prejudice and systematic inequality of opportunity."
Related: NHMC Slams Trump for Post-Charlottesville React
The President had condemned hate groups in a statement Monday, Aug. 15. But in a press conference following his announcement on infrastructure plans, he was asked about his initial reaction to the violence, which had not called out the groups by name and suggested there was fault on both sides. He returned to that position of what most were branding a "false equivalency" between people shouting slurs about Jews and blacks and those protesting that hate speech.
Reaction from Democrats, some Republicans, journalists, activists and others to the President's return to a position that had white nationalists thanking him for standing up to him was swift and excoriating.
WGAW was among those who were clearly not pulling their punches at the sitting President. "We demand that violence in support of such views be properly punished," it said. "President Trump legitimizes hate speech and violence, and disgraces our nation.”
WGAW represents writers of TV and radio—including for the news outlets the President is constantly attacking—as well as for films and the internet.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.