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“Movies to Oust Ten Cited For Contempt of Congress,” The New York Times, November 26, 1947

Soon after Congress cited the Hollywood Ten for contempt, movie producers blacklisted them, effectively barring them from employment. The House committee continued its investigation of Hollywood until 1953, calling more than 100 other actors, writers, and filmmakers to testify. Some refused; others incriminated hundreds of colleagues. Hollywood studios eventually blacklisted more than 300 people.

From The New York Times, 2015. © 1947 The New York Times. All rights reserved. Used by permission and protected by the Copyright Laws of the United States. The printing, copying, redistribution, or retransmission of this content without express written permission is prohibited.

“Movies to Oust Ten Cited For Contempt of Congress,” The New York Times, November 26, 1947

Communism in Hollywood

From the 1930s through the 1950s, Congress intensively investigated alleged political radicals. The House Committee on Un-American Activities focused on universities, labor unions, and the film industry. In 1947 the committee called Hollywood actors, directors, producers, and screenwriters to testify regarding communist influence on motion pictures. Ten men who refused to state their political affiliations, claiming First Amendment rights, were imprisoned for contempt of Congress. The “Hollywood Ten” became the first victims of a blacklist by major movie studios that curtailed hundreds of careers before it ended in 1960.

The Chairman. Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party? Mr. Trumbo. I believe I have the right to be confronted with any evidence which supports this question. I should like to see what you have.

House Un-American Activities Committee Hearing, October 28, 1947