Although she’s neck-deep in negotiations for a new WGA contract, AMPTP president Carol Lombardini wasn’t too busy Wednesday to fire off a letter to veteran stuntwoman Julie Johnson, who’s been fighting a one-woman campaign to put an end to sexual harassment of stuntwomen and to stop the long-running practice of stuntmen doubling for actresses.
In January, Johnson, the former stunt coordinator on the Charlie’s Angels TV show, met privately with SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris to express her concerns in these areas and presented her with a poll she’d conducted that found that two-thirds of the 43 stuntwomen she surveyed said they’d been bullied or sexually harassed in the workplace. Johnson also found that nearly 40% of the women surveyed said they’d witnessed men putting on dresses and wigs to double for actresses and that 35% had witnessed “paint downs” – the application of makeup to allow a white stuntperson to double for a minority actor — all of which is frowned upon by the union.
Johnson followed up by sending a information packet to Lombardini, who responded Wednesday. “Thank you for the materials that you recently sent to my attention describing issues faced by female and minority stunt performers working in the production of theatrical and television motion pictures, which we have received and have reviewed,” Lombardini wrote. “Any information suggesting that any person working on one of our companies’ productions may have acted inappropriately is of significant concern to our companies. We urge both you and any of your colleagues to report any instances of harassment to the person designated by the company to receive and respond to such complaints so that the company is provided with the opportunity to investigate and address the situation.”
SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP are expected to begin negotiations for a new film and TV new contract in May, and Johnson is hoping that the issues she’s raised will be put on the agenda.