The Visual Effects Society has adopted a code of conduct aimed at “ensuring that all members are treated with respect, dignity and inclusion.”

The 3,800-member honor society’s board of directors unanimously ratified the new code (read it here), which underscores its “categorical opposition to all forms of discrimination, harassment, workplace harassment and sexual harassment and delineates the values, standards and expectations of personal and professional conduct for its membership.” Violation of the code, the Society said, “Could lead to consequences including loss of membership in the Society.”

Sexual Harassment Woman Shadow
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The new code states that “Members are expected to act with the highest integrity and refrain from committing any act that will degrade themselves or the VES, or prejudice, damage or harm the standing, reputation, welfare and/or best interests of the VES and its members.”

Members also are expected to: 

Behave in a professionally appropriate and courteous manner toward other members and the Society’s personnel, volunteers, vendors, sponsors and guests

Discuss differences in a professional, non-confrontational manner with due regard for the viewpoints of others

Honor and respect cultural diversity

Uphold this code of conduct and its values in their professional lives

The code also prohibits:

Bullying

Hate speech

Unwanted sexual advances

Unwelcome physical touching or assault

Offering employment or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors, or denying fair treatment when sexual favors are not granted

Wolf whistling, catcalling or offensive sexual noises

Sexual gestures or exposure of sexual organs

Making or using derogatory comments, slurs, or jokes of a sexual nature

Using sexually degrading words to describe an individual

Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters

The Society acknowledges that its members “work in uniquely creative workplaces and that certain words, ideas and imagery used in other contexts may be deemed offensive by some. However, there is nothing about creativity that requires individuals to fear for their physical, emotional, or economic safety.”

Said VES board chair Mike Chambers: “The VES is entrusted with fostering a positive environment where our members are treated with integrity and upholding the high standards befitting our honorary society,”As a global organization, we take seriously our role within the entertainment community. We have the responsibility and opportunity to set an example in nurturing diverse relationships to support the welfare of our members and the industry at large – and this code of conduct is an important step to achieve that.” 

Added Brooke Breton, VES board member and chair of the VES Ad Hoc Committee on Harassment: “We are in the midst of a critical movement and now is the time for our industry to evolve and take action to address and prevent harassment and discrimination,” I am extremely gratified that the Society is demonstrating its leadership to address these longstanding issues and of my board colleagues in giving their enthusiastic support to this directive. Together, we have the ability to create a safer, healthier and more equitable environment for VFX artists and practitioners worldwide and enhance the overall integrity of our industry.”

In conjunction with its new code of conduct, the Society said it will also develop a program to provide referrals, such as legal and counseling resources, to support our members who experience harassment or discrimination.