The son of the founder of The Hollywood Reporter is coming forward and saying he is sorry for the trade magazine’s 1947 Blacklist of writers, producers, and actors who had their careers ended or even sent to jail for being accused of being communists.
W.R. Wilkerson III, the son of William “Billy” R. Wilkerson, wrote in an article for magazine on Monday, “the 1947 Blacklist silenced the careers of some of the studios’ greatest talent and ruined countless others merely standing on the sidelines.”
The founder’s son went on to write, “The U.S. government, which had a great hand in this event, could have prevented it from mushrooming. It did nothing. And no one has ever apologized to the victims of this holocaust. So on the eve of this dark 65th anniversary, I feel an apology is necessary. It’s possible, had my father lived long enough, that he would have apologized for creating something that devastated so many careers. On behalf of my family, and particularly my late father, I wish to convey my sincerest apologies and deepest regrets to those who were victimized by this unfortunate incident.”
The elder Wilkerson had worked as a producer in Hollywood himself before founding The Hollywood Reporter in 1930. Billy made an attempt at building his own film studio in 1927 but was unsuccessful. Williams blamed others working in Hollywood at the time of crushing his dreams of his own studio, and is apparently the reason he created the “Blacklist” to exact his revenge.
“For whatever reason, the movie brass refused him entry into their ‘club’ and squashed his dream. So he found another one: exacting revenge,” the son writes.
“Most of the people who were involved in the Blacklist are no longer alive, but they were severely harmed. Their families, the people they worked with will never forget this shameful period,” entertainment journalist Jeanne Wolf said.
One of those still alive, Norma Barzman, who was blacklisted said, “Ten marvelous people went to jail: writers, directors, producers.”