UPDATED with Anita Hill statement: SAG-AFTRA has called for a ban on auditions in hotel rooms and residences, where many reported incidents of sexual harassment and assault have occurred. “We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in announcing the movie today.
The ban on such meetings – called Guideline No. 1 – is the first expansion of the Code of Conduct the union released in February as part of its Four Pillars of Change initiative to confront sexual harassment in the workplace.
The new guideline calls on producers and other decision-makers “to refrain from holding professional meetings in hotel rooms and private residences,” and urges members and their representatives “not to agree to professional meetings in these high-risk locations.” The guild said that “in the rare event that there is no reasonable alternative to having the meeting in such a location, Guideline No. 1 establishes the concept of a ‘Support Peer’ to accompany the member during the meeting.”
The guild said this new 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.”
Anita Hill, chair of the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, welcomed the news.
“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,” she said in a statement. “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.”