Group of American screenwriters and directors, all then current or former members of the Communist party, who were convicted in 1948 of contempt of Congress for their October 1947 appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which was investigating Communist influence in the Hollywood labor unions. They were cited for contempt for their efforts to disrupt the committee's proceedings by making political statements while refusing to answer questions put to them by the committee concerning their Communist affiliations and activities. Among the questions they refused to answer was, "Are you a member of the Screen Writers Guild?" Their unsuccessful defense was based on First Amendment claims. Following unsuccessful appeals and denial of review by the Supreme Court, they served 6-month (in two cases) or one-year prison terms in 1950.
In November 1947 they were "blacklisted" by the major Hollywood producers, who declared publicly that the ten would be fired or suspended and not rehired until they were acquitted or purged of contempt and had sworn that they were not Communists. Because of their notoriety, they were unable to obtain work in the American film and television industry for many years. Much later, when anti-Communism became unfashionable, they were often portrayed as heroes for their defiance of the committee.
The members of the Hollywood Ten were
- Herbert Biberman
- Albert Maltz
- Lester Cole
- Dalton Trumbo
- John Howard Lawson
- Alvah Bessie
- Samuel Ornitz
- Ring Lardner, Jr
- Edward Dmytryk
- Adrian Scott
Following his blacklisting, Trumbo was able to continue work under an alias writing, among other movies, Spartacus.
Edward Dmytryk later agreed to testify and resumed his career as a director.
In later life many of the "Hollywood Ten" continued to defend their own and others' membership in or support for the Communist Party.