This report draws on public records of retaliation described in news articles and posted on social media, as well as interviews with directly impacted media workers and responses to two surveys distributed by the National Writers Union.

Six of the cases included in our quantitative data analysis came via a survey that NWU began circulating publicly in October 2023, soliciting reports of retaliation against media workers for their speech in support of Palestinians or their views on the war on Gaza. For each case drawn from the survey, an NWU member interviewed the affected worker and confirmed that they wanted to be a part of the report.

NWU members also monitored social media and Google alerts for instances of retaliation against media workers reported online. Cases found this way make up more than half of those included in our analysis.

NWU circulated a second survey in December 2023 that invited media workers to share their experiences of pressure to self-censor, actions taken by management to dissuade and preempt speech about Israel/Palestine, and what consequences they thought they might face for such speech. NWU member-organizers drew two additional cases of retaliation from those survey results, interviewing each worker.

Data Analysis

To determine whether a case should be included in our data analysis, we first considered whether the case could be categorized as retaliation. We defined retaliation as any action taken by a venue, outlet, organization, or group that negatively affects a media worker, that was triggered by a perception that the worker’s actions supported the Palestinian cause or criticized the government of Israel.

We also considered whether the affected person should be considered a media worker, which we defined as anyone who could be a member of the National Writers Union. NWU has a broad membership that includes people who work primarily in academia or the art world. Although this report does include a section discussing media workers in academia and art, we did not include cases of retaliation by academic institutions, like universities, or fine arts institutions, like museums, because of the specific nature of those contexts. In many of the cases left out, the impacted workers held positions that fell outside the types of labor covered by NWU, such as teachers, curators, or administrators. Instead, we focused primarily on the actions of media companies and cultural institutions that support or feature media workers. We did include cases where academic publishers were the drivers of retaliation.

Most of the cases we reviewed fit into one of the following categories of retaliation: cancellation of appearance/event, cancellation of assignment, assignment restriction, termination, resignation, social media suppression, online harassment, or rescinding of award. One case fell under “other,” and involved a worker who pushed back on an attempt to restrict their assignments. Our definitions can be found in the Data section of this report.

Most of the individuals did work that fits into one of the following media categories: literature, print journalism, video journalism, visual journalism, audio, communications, social media, academia, or law. Over half of the cases involved journalists. In cases where the information was publicly available or where we interviewed a source directly, we also tracked impacted workers’ self-identified race, ethnicity, and nationality.

NWU was unable to verify every collected case of retaliation, and we left a number of suspected retaliation cases out of our tally due to ambiguity. In an environment of intense precarity, where employers can take away work with no explanation, it wasn’t always possible to confirm that work was lost directly due to Israel/Palestine-related speech. We additionally left out a few survey respondents whom we were unable to reach to confirm details directly.

In the discussion section, we have highlighted public anecdotes that were not included in our tally, in order to further explore the themes revealed by our quantitative data. We also included an analysis of responses to the self-censorship survey.

In some cases, employers have said publicly or privately that an act of retaliation was not solely a result of speech related to Palestine, for example, arguing that a worker’s previous behavior shaped a decision. Our analysis is not limited to cases where Palestine-related speech was the sole possible reason for a company’s action.

Finally, it’s worth noting that there are undoubtedly many cases of retaliation and self-censorship missing from our data given the climate of fear that currently permeates the media industry, particularly surrounding any discussion of Israel and Palestine.


All entries, including those drawn from NWU surveys, were reviewed by a team of professional fact-checkers. In cases drawn from interviews with an affected worker, a fact-checker reviewed the source’s documentation of retaliation or spoke to witnesses to the retaliation whenever possible. In two cases, the worker was verbally reprimanded or otherwise could not provide documented evidence of retaliation. We chose to keep those cases in the report. Since we are a worker-led organization, our report centers workers’ experiences.

In several cases drawn from social media, a fact-checker contacted the subject to learn more about the incident. When the person could not be reached, we did not include the case in our data analysis. We did include cases where a social media post included clear evidence of retaliation, for example, if it included screenshots or if the retaliation consisted of verifiable online harassment.

A similar process applied for news reports. We considered reported news stories to be sufficient evidence of retaliation. However, where news stories speculated about potential retaliation based on timing, we attempted to contact the impacted person. If they could not be reached or declined to comment, we did not include the case in our data analysis.

In some cases, we anonymized individuals upon request so that they do not face further retaliation or harassment.

We did not exhaustively audit the cases in our tally, nor do we have the capacity to do so. We are neither social scientists nor statisticians, and we do not purport that the findings of this report are comprehensive or representative. Nevertheless, they do raise important questions about the state of journalism in the West, both at the industry and the workplace level. We hope that this report prompts collective introspection, further organizing, and course correction wherever needed.


This project was led by members of the National Writers Union, organizing with the Freelance Solidarity Project. More than two dozen worker-organizers researched, wrote, fact-checked, edited, and designed this report on a volunteer basis. Special thanks to the media workers and collaborating organizations that shared their insights and feedback on our findings and recommendations.