exual assault and harassment complaints in the Hollywood working world are up 500 percent for SAG-AFTRA in the post-Harvey Weinstein era. The pressure is present and growing for companies whose executives, employees, and/or talent have been accused of, or have been victims of such assaults. For example, following the firing of The Today Show co-anchor Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior, Andy Lack, chairman of NBC News and MSNBC said that the company is retaining “a firm to conduct in person, interactive training on workplace behavior and harassment prevention.” Moreover, SAG-AFTRA’s attorney Gloria Allred led a panel for guild members called “Beyond the Headlines: A Conversation on Sexual Harassment and Abuse in the Entertainment Industry” a few weeks into the Hollywood sexual harassment and assault scandals to share and discuss strategies for dealing with harassment and observing harassment in the Hollywood workplace. Gabrielle Carteris, SAG-AFTRA’s president, said in a Vanity Fair interview that Harvey Weinstein’s stories have “created a conversation that we haven’t had in the open in a very full way[.] Everybody is re-evaluating their policies and procedures. We’re talking about, as an industry, how do we do this?” As a result, the industry is already changing its audition practices; one-on-one male/female auditions are declining: “If it’s just the male director there…don’t go in that room,” said casting director Debra Zane. “[Although auditions] are not a contract issue, […] those are our members, so we want to give voice to them. Our job as a union is to protect people and give them a sense of safety when they’re working,” said Carteris. “Additionally, studios are launching more and more investigations; updating their sexual harassment policies and sharing them with producers; producers are conducting sexual harassment trainings on set; contracts’ moral clause are being revised; and actors are launching anti-sexual harassment campaigns. Needless to say, this issue goes beyond the Hollywood working world with the #MeToo movement created by sexual assault and harassment victims to virally share their stories.
Filed in: Legal Blog
January 18, 2018