Members of SAG-AFTRA who’ve experienced sexual harassment in the workplace are now being offered counseling through a program administered by the Actors Fund. The new service, a joint effort between the union, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation and the Actors Fund, offers confidential crisis and short-term supportive counseling, education on individual rights and legal avenues, referrals to related resources and, when needed, referrals for other clinical services.
“SAG-AFTRA is proud to introduce this important service to our members,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, who helped announce the program Friday. “While our existing Safer Set hotline assures workplace safety issues are addressed, it has become imperative that we make available counseling to our members who have or are experiencing workplace harassment. We are grateful to partner with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation as well as the Actors Fund and their team of professional counselors to meet this need. In addition to enhancing the union’s capacity to process workplace harassment reports in recent months, being able to offer counseling to our members is one more step in our ongoing efforts to address the sexual harassment epidemic in our industry.”
The service is open to all SAG-AFTRA members and available nationally by phone, as well as in person at the Actors Fund’s offices in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. To access services over the phone or in person, SAG-AFTRA members can contact the Actors Fund regional office nearest them in those cities.
“Throughout our history, the Actors Fund has always responded quickly to the needs of our community,” said Barbara Davis, the Funds’ chief operating officer. “In the past year, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have brought issues of sexual harassment and assault to the forefront of the performing arts and entertainment industry. We’re proud to partner with SAG-AFTRA and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to provide counseling services to people who have been subjected to sexual harassment or assault, and we will continue our outreach so that everyone in our industry knows that these services are available to them.”
Said JoBeth Williams, president of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation: “For more than 30 years, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation has been providing a vital safety net to SAG-AFTRA professionals who have fallen on hard times, been impacted by natural disasters, or been hit with unexpected illness or injury. This past year has been a reckoning for sexual harassment abuses in our industry. Our three organizations have come together to ensure that workplaces and working environments in this industry will be safe and secure. No SAG-AFTRA performer should ever feel alone or without recourse when it comes to sexual harassment or assault. We want all SAG-AFTRA professionals to know that they are not alone in this business.”
In February, SAG-AFTRA released its Code of Conduct to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, part of the union’s Four Pillars of Change initiative to protect its members and confront harassment and advance equity in the workplace.