Ted Sarandos, who was set to receive the PEN America Visionary Award at the literary group’s gala next week in NYC, won’t be attending amid an ongoing strike and vigorous picketing on both coasts by the WGA.
“Given the threat to disrupt this wonderful evening, I thought it was best to pull out so as not to distract from the important work that PEN America does for writers and journalists, as well as the celebration of my friend and personal hero Lorne Michaels. I hope the evening is a great success,” Sarando said in a statement.
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Said PEN: “Today Netflix’s Ted Sarandos informed us that he will not be joining us in New York to accept the PEN America Business Visionary Award at our annual gala on May 18,” PEN America said. “We admire Ted Sarandos’ singular work translating literature to artful presentation on screen, and his stalwart defense of free expression and satire.”
“As a writers organization, we have been following recent events closely and understand his decision. Our Gala program, with honorees including Saturday Night Live‘s Lorne Michaels and emcee Colin Jost, will center on the escalating campaign of book bans in this country, tightening constraints on satire and comedy, and support of threatened writers worldwide. We look forward to a moving and inspiring event that will fuel our fervent work on behalf of free speech.”
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The WGA strike started last early last week and has seen productions paused or shut down and events recast. Major rallies are planned for next Monday in New York and LA. Upfront presentations by major media companies are also set to unspool next week at venues across NYC.
PEN America’s annual spring gala is scheduled for Thursday at the Museum of Natural History.
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