Representatives from Hollywood’s talent agencies are taking part in a training session today on preventing and reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. Chaired by Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, the seminar is aimed at teaching agents to act as “first responders” when their clients are subjected to sexual harassment and abuse.
Today’s training session is Hollywood’s latest effort to confront the sexual harassment scandal arising from allegations against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, which has since cascaded into an avalanche of allegations against dozens of prominent industry figures.
Reporters were not allowed to attend the meeting, which is being held in the James Cagney Boardroom at SAG-AFTRA’s offices in Hollywood, but Stuart previously said that “talent agents can find themselves in the position of ‘first responders’ when a client makes a complaint about sexual harassment. And when the complaint concerns someone other than an employee of their agency, they may not know how to respond appropriately.”
Stuart, a commissioner on the Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, recently told her member agencies that “ATA’s blended training and educational session is meant to complement, not replace, your company’s policies and programs. We will explore examples of proper responses by talent agents when placed in the position of a ‘first-responder’ to clients that confide in agents.”
Presenters at today’s session include Robert Roginson, an attorney at the Ogletree Deakins law firm who previously served as chief counsel for the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement; attorney Laura Heckathorn, also of Ogletree Deakins, whose practice includes all aspects of employment law with a focus on sexual harassment litigation, training, prevention and best practices for employers; Keith McNutt, director of the Western region of the Actors Fund; and Lillian Gallina, the eastern supervisor of the Actors Fund’s entertainment assistance program, who’s developed and led workshops and training on responding to sexual harassment.