In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal, and the scores of others in Hollywood accused of harassment and/or assault, talent union SAG-AFTRA, which organises the Screen Actors Guild Awards has responded by banning all auditions that take place in either a hotel room or a private residence.
Many of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers revealed that they were harassed and/or assaulted in hotel rooms.
Here’s what SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris had to say in a statement, announcing the new change today.
“We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting.”
This ban, entitled Guideline #1, is the first expansion of the union’s Code of Conduct that was released back in February.
The Code of Conduct was part of its Four Pillars of Change, aimed at curbing sexual misconduct in the workplace. This new guideline asks producers and other executives to refrain from holding auditions and other “professional meetings” in hotel rooms or private residences, while asking their members not to agree to meetings in these, “high-risk locations.”
In the event that there is no other alternative but to hold a meeting or audition in a hotel or a residence, the actor can bring a “Support Peer” to accompany him or her during the meeting. Here’s an excerpt from the new rule below.
“(The rule) is equally applicable to SAG-AFTRA members when acting in the capacity of a producer or decision-maker with influence or control over decisions that can impact another’s career. All professionals, including SAG-AFTRA members, are expected to refrain from engaging in harassing conduct and support efforts to eliminate this scourge from the workplace.”
There is no indication yet as to the other guidelines and expansions to the Code of Conduct will be released after this first update. Regardless, it’s clear that SAG-AFTRA is committing to making the necessary changes to ensure a safe workplace environment for all of its members, in the aftermath of the sexual misconduct allegations that have spread quickly through Hollywood. Anita Hill, chair of the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, had this to say in a statement about Guideline #1.
“The Commission applauds SAG-AFTRA’s recently issued Guideline No. 1, which aims to put an end to auditions and interviews in private hotel rooms or at private residences. The implementation of this guideline marks an important first step in communicating appropriate industry standards for professional practices. This is exactly the kind of action the Commission encourages as part of our ongoing effort to introduce systemic changes that create safer, fairer and more equitable workspaces throughout the industry. We call on other stakeholders to support SAG-AFTRA’s effort and encourage them to adopt similar guidelines within their own institutions.”
Ever since Harvey Weinstein’s behavior was finally exposed, movements such as Me Too and Times Up have become more and more prominent as the entertainment industry tries to move on in the wake of this widespread scandal.