The Writers Guild of America West issued a sharp rebuke of President Donald Trump and his response to the violence at a Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally on Saturday, saying in a statement that the president “disgraces our nation.”
“The Writers Guild of America West believes in free speech – even from Nazis and white supremacists,” the WGA West said in a statement provided to Variety. “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.”
“We demand that violence in support of such views be properly punished,” the union added. “President Trump legitimizes hate speech and violence, and disgraces our nation.”
The comments from the writer’s union — which reportedly represents 9,000 film and television writers — came after Trump answered questions about the Charlottesville violence at a contentious press conference on Tuesday afternoon at Trump Tower, during which he again condemned neo-Nazis and racist violence before accusing “both sides” of engaging in violent tactics.
One woman was killed Saturday afternoon and at least another 19 were injured when a man later identified as 20-year-old James Fields Jr. deliberately drove his car into a group of counter-protesters.
“There was no way of making a correct statement that early,” the president said Tuesday, defending his initial reaction to the deadly incident. “Unlike you and unlike the media, before I make a statement, I like to know the facts.”
According to Variety, the smaller, New York-based Writers Guild of America East also issued a statement Saturday requesting that Trump “stand up and directly condemn white supremacy.”
The statement by the Writers Guild comes as numerous Hollywood celebrities have strongly criticized Trump’s reaction to the Charlottesville rally and his additional remarks at the press conference. Celebrities including Chelsea Handler, Mark Ruffalo, and Patton Oswalt took to Twitter to bash the president, while late-night hosts dedicated their monologues this week to trashing his reaction to the incident.
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