The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) has delivered almost 500 letters to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling on him to support a modification of the Empire State Film Production Credit, so that it includes television writers and directors who are women or people of color.

Per the press release, the New York State Assembly and Senate are currently considering bills A-3376B & S-5448A, which were introduced with bipartisan support by Senator Kemp Hannon (R) and Assemblyman Keith Wright (D).  This legislation has solid support from all the entertainment unions, the state AFL-CIO, and a variety of organizations working to diversify the entertainment industry.In

In urging the Governor to support the legislation, the letters draw attention to the many studies and media stories highlighting the lack of diversity in both the film and TV industries, especially in writing and directing roles. One recent study from UCLA found that, in 2014, only 29% of television writers were women; only 13% were people of color. The Wright-Hannon TV Diversity Credit is legislation that would enable New York to lead the nation in taking real action to address these issues.

“New York State has the opportunity to make diversity a reality in television,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “This legislation would create opportunities for women and people of color to build sustainable careers in New York.  More diverse storytelling makes more compelling shows, strengthening an industry which has created so many thousands of jobs across the state.”

Governor Cuomo received letters from a wide-variety of prominent writers and filmmakers, including this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Original Screenplay Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”), David Simon (“The Wire”), Michael Arndt (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”), Tina Fey (“30 Rock”), Robert Carlock (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Nicholas Pileggi (“Goodfellas”), Sarah Treem (“The Affair”), Michael H. Weber (“The Fault in Our Stars”), Tony Gilroy (“The Bourne Identity”), Lucy Alibar (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”), Shari Springer Berman (“American Splendor”), Andrew Bergman (“Blazing Saddles”), Marshall Brickman (“Annie Hall”), James Schamus (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Matt Williams (“Home Improvement”), Anya Epstein (“Gracepoint”), Tom Fontana (“Oz”), Beau Willimon (“House of Cards”), Robin Thede (“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”), Paul Haggis (“Crash”), Jim V. Hart (“Hook”), Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King”), Warren Leight (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Julie Martin (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”), Rebecca Miller (“Proof”), Michael Rauch (“Royal Pains”), Theresa Rebeck (“Smash”) and Jon Robin Baitz (“The Slap”).