Since October 2017, a great deal of policy making and resource gathering has occurred regarding sexual harassment and misconduct in the entertainment industry. At Theatrical Intimacy Education, we firmly believe that knowledge is the greatest source of empowerment for artists, so here is an overview of some of the new policies that have been enacted and resources compiled in recent months and what that means for working conditions within the entertainment industry.
SAG/AFTRA Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment 2018
SAG/AFTRA is the most recent of the policy changes within the entertainment industry. This document specifically defines three forms of sexual harassment (quid pro quo, hostile work environment, and retaliation) and clearly states that these acts are to be reported to the union when they occur. This document also mandates that each set (whether that be a big budget production company or a small indie film) have a clear reporting mechanism when this behavior occurs. This information is to be displayed on call sheets for temporary workers and in employee handbooks for more permanent positions like broadcasters. SAG/AFTRA is asking all union members to report directly to a union representative until an industry-wide reporting body can be developed.
A major development from this document is the implementation of STOP. SUPPORT. REPORT. SAG/AFTRA is now encouraging its membership to “intervene to STOP the conduct when we can, SUPPORT those who speak up, and REPORT the conduct.”
TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund
Brought to the spotlight at the 2018 Golden Globes, TIME’S UP is a new legal defense fund to aid those who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the type of work they do. This fund is housed within the National Women’s Law Center. The goal of this legal defense fund is to aid women who are sexually harassed that are low-income or women of color. The website also allows the user to connect to lawyers who have volunteered to be part of the network for consultations that will be paid for by the fund.
In the entertainment industry, this fund could cover the costs of legal fees for young industry professionals starting out in their careers that are victims of sexual harassment.
Theatre Communications Group Sexual Misconduct Resource List
Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has released a Sexual Misconduct Resource List as a part of its mission to create “a better world for theatre.” This resource list is divided into seven categories: Activism, Services and Support for Organizations, Services and Support for Survivors, General Resource Hubs, Theatre-Specific Resources, Hotlines, and Press.
This resource is an excellent starting point for theatres looking for help regarding sexual harassment and misconduct, and Theatrical Intimacy Education is honored to be included in the list as a Theatre-Specific Resource.
What can we take away from these new policies, organizations, and resources?
Knowing your rights on stage, set, backstage, or anywhere else in the workplace is vital. Depending on your job title or union affiliation, there is a different chain of responsibility, network of resources, and resource pool to pull from. While investigating this may be overwhelming at first, having the knowledge of where to turn can make you feel prepared with a plan should you ever need to implement it.
Across the board, the new policies and organizations are enforcing the ideology of “if you see something, say something.” By being an active bystander, you have the ability to make a difference in the lives of those around you and change our industry for the better.
If you haven’t had the chance yet, check out our resource page. On the resource page, we include some articles discussing the nature of theatrical intimacy as well as other organizations working to make the industry better.