A bill pending in the California Assembly would require talent agencies to provide sexual harassment prevention training to their employees, and for the state Labor Commission to provide child actors and their parents or legal guardians with training in sexual harassment prevention prior to the issuance of a permit to employ a minor in the entertainment industry.
ATA executive director Karen Stuart supported the bill – AB 2338 – in testimony before the Assembly’s Labor and Employment Committee.
“We represent over 125 talent agencies in California,” she told the committee last week. “They represent thousands, if not tens of thousands, of artists. This is really model legislation, and it will be one-of-a-kind legislation. We’re proud to support it. It also requires the Labor Commissioner to ensure that minors and guardians receive appropriate sexual harassment prevention training … before they’re granted a work permit. And I think that’s a really important element here. I think that minors in our industry really do lack that information and that knowledge, and we look forward to working with the Labor Commissioner and other industry experts to help put that material together. We’re here in support.”
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Marc Levine, told that committee: “This legislation is needed as much as ever, as you are aware of the recent scandals emerging from the entertainment industry, to empower potential victims with information to help them to identify and seek resources for sexual harassment. The legislature needs to ensure that these professionals are protected and kept safe in their work environment.”
The bill, which was approved unanimously by the committee, also would require talent agencies to provide their adult modeling clients with training and educational materials about nutrition and eating disorders. This was included in the bill because eating disorders are, like sexual harassment, viewed as significant risks to many of those involved in the film, television and modeling industries.
Kristen Snow, senior director of strategic partnership at the National Eating Disorders Association, told the committee that it’s estimated that there currently are more than a million Californians with eating disorders, such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa and binge eating, and that “models and others within the fashion and entertainment industries experience a substantially elevated risk of eating disorders because of expectations placed upon them to maintain a certain body-weight.”