Writer/Scholar/Target: Online Harassment and the Threat to Free Expression

Reza Aslan and Franklin Leonard
Moderated by Jean Guerrero
Saturday, May 13, 2023
Episode Summary

Participant(s) Bio

Reza Aslan is a renowned writer, commentator, professor, Emmy- and Peabody-nominated producer, and scholar of religions. A recipient of the prestigious James Joyce award, Aslan is the author of three internationally best-selling books, including the #1 New York Times Bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. His producing credits include the acclaimed HBO series The Leftovers and the CBS comedy United States of Al. He is the host and Executive Producer of CNN’s Believer and Rough Draft With Reza Aslan, as well as co-host along with Rainn Wilson of the podcast Metaphysical Milkshake. His latest book is An American Martyr in Persia: The Epic Life and Tragic Death of Howard Baskerville.

Franklin Leonard is the founder of The Black List, a yearly survey highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays, and the company created to continue its mission. More than 400 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films, earning more than 275 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins. Franklin has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Leonardo DiCaprio, and John Goldwyn. He has been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, and Guanajuato Film Festivals and for the PEN Center USA Literary Awards. He serves on the advisory boards of the Young Storytellers Foundation and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation. He has been named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s "35 Under 35," Black Enterprise Magazine’s 40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future," The Root’s "100 Most Influential African-Americans," and Fast Company’s "100 Most Creative People in Business." He was awarded the 2015 African-American Film Critics Association’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence. He is a graduate of Harvard University and was inducted into the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, and Sciences in 2016.

Jean Guerrero is a columnist at the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump and the White Nationalist Agenda. Her first book, Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, won a PEN Literary Award and was named one of NPR's Best Books of 2019. Her writing is featured in Vanity Fair, Politico, The Nation, Wired, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Best American Essays 2019 by Rebecca Solnit and more. She won the 2022 "Best Commentary" award from the Sacramento Press Club. While working at KPBS as an investigative border reporter, she won an Emmy and contributed to NPR, the PBS NewsHour, and more. Months before Trump’s family separations captured national attention, her PBS reporting on the practice was cited by members of Congress. She started her career at The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires as a foreign correspondent in Mexico and Central America. She was named one of the California Chicano News Media Association’s most influential Latina journalists.