Max streaming service says it will restore writer and director credits after outcry
When HBO Max made a glitchy transition to the new streaming service Max, a credits section that acknowledged the contributions of writers and directors was lost.
Previously, names of writers, directors and producers had been listed in separate categories. But Max, which combines content from Warner Bros. Discovery's platforms HBO Max and Discovery+, lumped them together under a new "creators" category.
The change drew ire from TV and film union leaders during an already tense time for the industry. Writers are three weeks into an industry-wide strike and directors are in the middle of negotiating new contracts.
Now, Warner Bros. Discovery is apologizing for the move and has said it will restore the writer and director credits.
"We agree that the talent behind the content on Max deserve their work to be properly recognized," a Max spokesperson said in a statement shared with NPR on Thursday. "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."
On Wednesday, the presidents of the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America West had issued a joint statement condemning the "creator" credit, saying the move aligns with streaming giants' attempts to minimize the work of its artists.
WGA West President Meredith Stiehm said in the statement that the change "echoes the message we heard in our negotiations with [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," she added.
DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter said, "This devaluation of the individual contributions of artists is a disturbing trend."
"Warner Bros. Discovery's unilateral move, without notice or consultation, to collapse directors, writers, producers and others into a generic category of 'creators' in their new Max rollout while we are in negotiations with them is a grave insult to our members and our union," Glatter said.
Warner Bros. Discovery did not say when the credits will be restored.