EXCLUSIVE: More than 2,000 members of the WGA West have responded to the guild’s survey on sexual harassment, making it the industry’s most extensive study of the problem to date. Information provided by respondents is being kept confidential, but the guild has said it will be used “to evaluate the extent of sexual harassment in our workplaces, and the challenges writers face when experiencing or witnessing it.”
The turnout represents about a fifth of the guild’s active members — more than cast ballots in the guild’s officer and board elections last year.
“The board is reviewing the results of the sexual harassment survey and will use the information to help inform the guild’s work on the issue,” a spokesman for the guild told Deadline. “We’re not going to comment beyond that.”
When the survey was sent to the guild’s members in February, WGA leaders said it would help them “understand how well or badly our employers are doing, or have done in the past, in dealing with complaints.”
“Our goal with this survey is to isolate and respond to a specific, dangerous, and timely problem so that we can move to find effective solutions both in our role as a labor union and in cooperation with other industry groups,” said WGA West president David A. Goodman, VP Marjorie David and secretary-treasurer Aaron Mendelsohn in an email to their members in February.
The questionnaire, they noted, “deals only with sexual harassment as defined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It doesn’t ask about other forms of workplace harassment, pay disparity or discrimination based on other unlawful grounds, such as race or gender or age. These are related problems, of course, and work on them is ongoing at the guild.”
The guild issued a Statement of Principles on Sexual Harassment in January that said it “supports a zero-tolerance policy for any form of workplace discrimination, including sexual harassment” – and that it “condemns this type of behavior, both toward its members and by its members.”
The guild, meanwhile, has changed the name of its Diversity Department to the Inclusion and Equity Department. In a statement, the guild said that “The #MeToo movement and events of the past year that brought sexual harassment in Hollywood to the forefront were, in part, a catalyst for the name change.”
“Inclusion and equity go hand in hand with each other,” said Tery Lopez, director of the department. “Inclusion is about leveling the playing field for writers that have been historically underrepresented in our industry, and equity is about the power dynamics in the workplace that can impact writers.”