After months of inaction from SAG-AFTRA, actress Sarah Scott has agreed to enter mediation on her claim that Kip Pardue, her costar on indie TV project Mogulettes, masturbated in front of her shortly after filming a sex scene. She also claimed that he became aroused and placed her hand on his crotch as they lay under the covers waiting to film the scene.
Scott’s claim, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, had been set to be heard by the guild’s disciplinary committee on Friday. But the hearing was postponed after her #MeToo-appointed attorney couldn’t fly in on time from the East Coast to attend the hearing.
SAG-AFTRA has loudly proclaimed that it has “zero tolerance” for this type of sexual harassment. In February, the union announced that it had adopted a sweeping Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment that set forth “clear expectations that SAG-AFTRA members will refrain from engaging in harassing conduct.”
Scott reported the incident to SAG-AFTRA in May, just days after the alleged assault. But she told the Times that while union officials were sympathetic, no one seemed in much of a hurry to address the situation.
“The feeling I got was, ‘It’s really not worth your time,’” she told the Times, adding she was told the process for dealing with such complaints usually takes six to nine months. “And yet that was the only thing you could do through SAG.”
Scott then reached out to SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, who got back to her via email. “I am eager to hear how the Time’s Up will help on this issue,” Carteris told her. “As for the union, I am making sure that this is reviewed as we continue developing best procedures and support systems.”
Scott filed a complaint with the union on June 11, and two weeks later, received a questionnaire in the mail asking her to recount the incident and to provide the names of witnesses and documentary evidence. She filled it out and sent it back that same day. But by the end of August, she had heard nothing back from the union.
She filed a police report on Aug. 26, and then reached out again to Carteris, who told her she would review the status of the complaint. The next day, she was told her case would be heard by the guild’s disciplinary committee on Oct. 26.
By this time, however, it was too late for her #MeToo attorney to fly in from Washington, DC, so the hearing was postponed and the matter was sent to deferred mediation. SAG-AFTRA declined comment, saying that “Legal and disciplinary matters are strictly confidential.”
“Speaking out about this has been extraordinarily difficult for me, and now I understand why so many people don’t,” she told the Times. “I was sexually violated while at work, and even though I had the courage to tell anyone and everyone who’d listen, as time went on, it seemed like I had very little control in truly preventing this from happening to anyone else.”
Pardue’s attorney told the Times that his client “would welcome a SAG hearing or any other fair process to resolve this matter.” And in a statement to the Times, Pardue said: “I clearly misread the situation during a sex scene on set and have apologized to Sarah. I never intended to offend her in any way and deeply regret my actions and have learned from my behavior.”