Max Manages to Piss Off Writers, Directors Guilds Immediately After Launch
Max — the not-exactly new streaming service from Warner Bros. Discovery, formerly known as HBO Max, HBO Now, and HBO Go — got off to a strong start by briefly infuriating the writers and directors that make all their films and TV shows possible.
As the Max rollout began Tuesday, May 23, people quickly noticed a change to the way credits were listed on the interface below movies and TV shows. While actors/performers still received their own category (“Starring”), directors, writers, and producers were lumped into a single category: “Creators.”
This, understandably, upset some of Hollywood’s biggest unions, including the Writers Guild of America — which is in the midst of a strike — and the Directors Guild of America. In a statement shared with Rolling Stone, WGA West President Meredith Stiehm called the “Creators” category “diminishing” and the move itself a “credits violation.”
“But worse,” Stiehm continued, “it is disrespectful and insulting to the artists that make the films and TV shows that make their corporation billions. This attempt to diminish writers’ contributions and importance echoes the message we heard in our negotiations with AMPTP [the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] — that writers are marginal, inessential, and should simply accept being paid less and less, while our employers’ profits go higher and higher. This tone-deaf disregard for writers’ importance is what brought us to where we are today — Day 22 of our strike.”
Meanwhile, DGA president Lesli Linka Glatter slammed Warner Bros. Discovery for making such a “unilateral move, without notice or consultation.” And she said that to do it “while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and an our union.”
“This devaluation of the individual contributions of artists is a disturbing trend and the DGA will not stand for it,” Glatter said. “We intend on taking the strongest possible actions, in solidarity with the WGA, to ensure every artist receives the individual credit they deserve.”
Warner Bros. Discovery, for its part, was quick to acknowledge the mistake and promised to fix it. In a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, Max said, “We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized. We will correct the credits, which were altered due to an oversight in the technical transition from HBO Max to Max and we apologize for this mistake.”
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