SAG-AFTRA is developing a Code of Conduct to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace – and at auditions, wrap parties, film festivals and anywhere else performers gather to find jobs or promote and celebrate their work. An email sent today to the union’s board members said the code “will provide clear safety guidance to performers in the work environment and in social environments attached to work where harassment frequently occurs.”
With the annual SAG Awards set for Sunday, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and national executive director David White told the board that “As we approach the awards show weekend, we are receiving more questions about SAG-AFTRA’s efforts to address the issue of harassment and inequity in our industry. We welcome the attention and are thrilled with the forceful initiatives now underway to eradicate this terrible disease that is pervasive in our society and industry.”
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“It is important that you know,” they told board members, “that SAG-AFTRA is directly engaged in these efforts, and that we are continuing to expand our own efforts to address the issue through our own channels.”
They noted that White is a commissioner on the Anita Hill-led Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, and that Carteris serves as a delegate on the subcommittee “that will soon meet to advance the Commission’s work. We have also met with and are in ongoing communication with several leaders in the Times UP! initiative.”
The two union leaders also sent the board a summary of the “broad range of activities that the union is involved in to help purge sexual harassment and inequity from the entertainment industry.”
Besides the Code of Conduct, the union is also exploring tech innovations to help track reports of harassment and abuse while maintaining anonymity and confidentiality for reporters and survivors; working to strengthen existing laws and set new standards to better protect everyone from sexual harassment, abuse, misconduct and discrimination; and working to produce public service announcements for performers and others to provide information on the Code of Conduct and their rights in the workplace.
The communique also noted that the union “will continue to directly address issues that arise on sets, including shutting down a production when abuse is reported until the problem is addressed, being physically present with members to address a specific complaint, work directly with the producer when complaints arise, or to take other actions as needed.”
They said that the union is also partnering with the industry Commission, the AFL-CIO, the International Federation of Actors, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and others “to support victims and work to eradicate workplace harassment and assault across industries and borders.”
They also said that the union is “enhancing our training programs for set reps to ensure the utmost preparation in assisting when sexual harassment or abuse is reported,” and noted that the union maintains an around the clock hotline where “any member who feels threatened or is experiencing a problem related to safety is connected to a union staff member who is trained to intervene, as forcefully as needed, to address the problem on set – including issues of sexual harassment.”
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