Willie Wilkerson apologized on behalf of his father for the 1947 Hollywood Blacklist
"So on the eve of this dark 65th anniversary, I feel an apology is necessary," Wilkerson wrote in The Hollywood Reporter
. "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."
Billy Wilkerson founded The Hollywood Reporter
in 1930. Before that, he was a producer, NPR
In 1927, Wilkerson planned to open a film studio, but that plan failed. "For whatever reason, the movie brass refused him entry into their 'club' and squashed his dream, his son wrote
. "So he found another one: exacting revenge."
After World War II, Billy Wilkerson published editorials in The Hollywood Reporter, which attacked "communist sympathizers" and their alleged "influence" in Hollywood, BBC News
Studios refused to work with anyone on the "Hollywood Blacklist." This forced some writers to work under pseudonyms and others to go work overseas.
While Billy Wilkerson wrote the editorials, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) led the "witch hunt," CBSLA
"Calling someone a communist today is almost laughable, but in 1950, it was a professional death sentence," Willie Wilkerson wrote in his apology letter
One of the living Hollywood workers who was blacklisted, actress Marsha Hunt, said she was "relieved" that The Hollywood Reporter finally acknowledged its role in the scandal, NPR
The Hollywood Reporter
interviewed other Hollywood Blacklist victims including screenwriters Walter Bernstein and Norma Barzman, actor Cliff Carpenter actress Lee Grant, and Kirk Douglas, the actor/producer who is credited with helping to break it in 1960.
William R. Wilkerson, founder of The Hollywood Reporter
died in 1962, BBC News