After his quotes about writing for Lost appeared in a Vanity Fair book excerpt Tuesday, veteran scribe Javier Grillo-Marxuach doubled down via social media by sharing more of his experience on the ABC drama.
Grillo-Marxuach, who is described in Maureen Ryan’s Hollywood book as “the only person from the show’s original nucleus of writers still in the writers room in season two,” posted his own essay that he hopes will deter “future abusers.”
“If Lost is so great a work of art as to continue to be a topic of discussion after all these years, then it is cruel to expect those of us who were there to remain silent as to how the show was made,” Grillo-Marxuach blogged. “Lost succeeded because of the sustained contribution of many, many artists, many of them geniuses in their own right, and many of whom were treated quite badly and then disappeared in favor of ‘auteur showrunner’ hagiography.”
The book titled Burn it Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood comes out June 6 and apparently seeks to expose “patterns of harassment and bias in Hollywood while shedding “light on problematic situations at companies like Lucasfilm and shows like Saturday Night Live, The Goldbergs, Lost, Sleepy Hollow, Curb Your Enthusiasm and more.”
Much of excerpted chapter about Lost addresses the management style of Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who served as co-showrunners over the drama’s memorable, six-year run on ABC. Both men went on to enjoy continued success in TV; Lindelof created the Emmy-winning HBO drama Watchmen — which ended up enlightening many viewers on the Tulsa race massacre — while Cuse created (with John Ridley) Five Days at Memorial, which told the harrowing true story of a New Orleans hospital that struggled to treat patients after Hurricane Katrina.
In Ryan’s book, Lindelof and Cuse are accused of maintaining an environment rife with bullying and inappropriate comments about race. In response to the allegations, Lindelof told Ryan that “my level of fundamental inexperience as a manager and a boss, my role as someone who was supposed to model a climate of creative danger and risk-taking but provide safety and comfort inside of the creative process—I failed in that endeavor.”
Cuse told Ryan that “it’s deeply upsetting to know that there were people who had such bad experiences. I did not know people were feeling that way. No one ever complained to me, nor am I aware that anybody complained to ABC Studios. I wish I had known. I would have done what I could to make changes.”
Grillo-Marxuach kicks off his essay by explaining how he “mostly played along with the useful hypocrisy that Lost was successful because of two geniuses” after leaving the drama at the end of season 2. He went on to work on such shows as Medium, The Shannara Chronicles, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance and Cowboy Bebop.
“I call this hypocrisy useful because it allowed me to continue to work after Lost without career-ending retribution. It also allowed ‘Darlton’ to rise to great wealth and cultural influence,” he wrote. “I can’t imagine Darlton being ‘canceled,’ nor is it my goal. They are each too big to fail — and I assume crisis management experts, publicists and litigators have been preparing before the publication of the book or its excerpt in Vanity Fair. What I do hope is that future abusers will be deterred, and that blowing the whistle on abusers becomes less stigmatized.”
“Finally, being part of the hypocrisy, even a useful one, eventually becomes too painful. This rage has truly scarred me. I am done paying the price for ‘Darlton’s’ ego. In the word of Howard Beale, I just ran out of bullshit.”
You can find his essay in his Tweet below.