The Hollywood Reporter and the Communist Blacklist

Billy Wilkerson

Later this month will mark 65 years since something called “The Waldorf Statement” was released. That was a two-page press release issued by the Motion Picture Association of America that essentially said the people who’d been accused – up to that time – of being Communist would no longer work in Hollywood.

They were, in essence, blacklisted from employment at movie studios pretty much everywhere. That Communist blacklist seed had been planted by Billy Wilkerson, the publisher of “The Hollywood Reporter,” who had started releasing names of people he thought had “Red” tendencies.

That blacklist destroyed dozens and dozens of professional lives. But now Wilkerson’s son, Billy Wilkerson, III, has apologized for what he called an “unfortunate incident.”

This story is detailed in the upcoming issue of The Hollywood Reporter. KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis spoke to the two reporters who wrote that story, Gary Baum and Daniel Miller. You can read the article here.