Anita Hill Commission Launches Survey Of Entertainment Industry Workers On Sexual Harassment And Abuse


The Anita Hill-led Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment has launched its long-anticipated survey of industry workers to gauge the extent of harassment and abuse in the workplace. The commission says it’s a “call to action,” and is asking for “everyone who has ever worked or sought work in entertainment to participate.”

The commission says its goal in conducting this first-of-its-kind survey, which is completely anonymous and untraceable, is to gather data that will be used to develop policies that encourage diversity and inclusion while preventing bias and harassment.

Anita Hill
Anita Hill Willy Sanjuan/Shutterstock

“Due to the heroic and brave work of many, we all now know there are serious problems of harassment, bias and mistreatment of others in Hollywood,” said Hill, who chairs the commission. “What we need to get our arms around, if we’re going to come up with effective solutions, is reliable data that reveals the specific nature and actual extent of those problems as well as the cultural environment that enables and hides them. We also want to know what is going well, and how we can improve the industry for all employees. Therefore it is important for everyone who has worked or even tried to work in the entertainment industry to partake in the survey as their experiences will tell us what we need to know.”

The survey will be conducted over the next four weeks via a secure website. It will be administered by the Ethics & Compliance Initiative, a leading nonprofit provider of independent research about workplace integrity and ethical standards.

The survey begins with standard demographic questions about age, race, gender, disability, and sexual orientation. Those are followed by general questions about how long you’ve worked in the industry, and primarily in what areas. It also asks how much, if any, the industry has changed in preventing harassment, welcoming diversity, and promoting respect since the start of the #Me Too movement two years ago.

The survey, which does not ask for the identity of companies or the names of offenders, then asks how often, if ever, you’ve been harassed or discriminated against on the job in the last 12 months; and about the prevalence of hostile workplaces, which may include being sworn at, insulted, humiliated or subjected to physical aggression.

Prior to the next sections on discrimination, sexual harassment and assault, the survey cautions that some victims may begin to feel discomfort at this point in the survey, and if so, to consider stepping away and coming back to it later.

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It then asks how often in the last year you’ve been subjected to any type of workplace racial and gender discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse –which may include crude and offensive sexual remarks; inappropriate touching; feeling subtly bribed or threatened into having sex, and rape or attempted rape.

The survey ends by asking how the commission might best deliver or partner in the delivery of various types of services, including a helpline and a hotline for crisis intervention; an app to allow victims to create a time-stamped records of what happened to them; education and training, and mentoring.

You can read and respond to the survey here.

According to the commission, the survey aims to:
• Establish a baseline regarding the current culture of the entertainment industry, against which the Hollywood commission can measure and evaluate future program effectiveness.
• Understand the nature and extent of misconduct, why it is so pervasive and for decades been accepted.
• Identify systemic problems that create and support power abuses, and prevent and/or discourage workers from raising concerns.
• Identify any gaps in access to representation, advocates, systems, and support.

The survey “is designed to guarantee privacy and anonymity for all participants,” the commission stressed. “It will not be possible for responses to be traced back to individual participants, nor will any specific organizations be linked to any findings. The data compiled will enable the Hollywood Commission to develop initiatives aimed at protecting entertainment-industry workers many of whom are freelance and/or starting out in this industry and therefore lack access to adequate safeguards against workplace bias and harassment.”

The commission, calling the survey “a vital step in its mission to ensure a safe, secure and inclusive workplace for everyone in the entertainment community,” said that “the sole way to build safe, respectful workplaces that give equal opportunity in the film, television, commercial, music, and theatre industries is to have a clear, data-driven and supported understanding of the culture where people work. In a critical move towards solving the systemic problems of abuses that have been brought to mass attention, this anonymous survey will be available to anyone who has worked or has tried to work in any area of entertainment making it the largest attempt at gathering this essential data. All in the industry are encouraged to participate – you do not have to have experienced abuse of power, harassment or bias to fill out the survey.”

The survey will seek data from members involved in any aspect of the entertainment industry, the commission said, “including actors, directors, producers, writers, musicians, singers, dancers, crafts people, hair and makeup artists, wardrobe and costume stylists, technicians, drivers, assistants, agents, managers, publicists and executives. Anyone who works or has sought work at movie studios, TV networks, streaming services, record labels, production companies, theater companies or talent, management and PR agencies has valuable insight worth sharing.”

The commission also noted that the data it compiles will allow it to “develop initiatives aimed at protecting entertainment-industry workers, many of whom are freelance and/or starting out in this industry, and therefore lack access to adequate safeguards against workplace bias and harassment.”

“The more varied the mix of industry employees, freelance, long term, support staff, executives, etc. who participate in the survey, the more illuminating and useful it will be,” Hill said. “At the end of the day, the aim here is to help us develop as complete an understanding as possible of the issues facing the entire industry. The number of survey responses will also tell us how serious and purposeful Hollywood is at solving the systemic problems it has been so dogged at illuminating.”

The results of the survey are expected to be tabulated and a summary of the findings will be released in early 2020.

Formed in December 2017 in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality is made up of representatives from the major studios, networks, talent agencies, record labels, unions and guilds, and the film and TV academies.

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