Sixty-five years after the inception of the Hollywood Blacklist, which would see hundreds in the film industry fingered, banned and demonised amid a mood of anti-Communist McCarthyism, The Hollywood Reporter has issued an extraordinary mea culpa.
“THR‘s own role in fomenting the Blacklist has long been overlooked: obscured by scholars and, out of shame, for decades never properly addressed in this publication’s pages,” reporters Gary Baum and Daniel Miller explain early in a lengthy feature.
The “key advocacy” of Reporter founder Billy Wilkerson is “at most a footnote in the definitive book-length histories of the period, yet his unsparing campaign, launched early on and from the heart of the movie colony – the front page of one of its two daily trade papers – was crucial to what followed.”
Alongside the main story, Billy’s son, WR Wilkerson, offers his own personal apology for what he calls “Hollywood’s Holocaust”. He writes:
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.