The MeToo movement revealed the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. Nearly 30 years ago, lawyer and academic Anita Hill accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment when both worked at the EEOC.
Thomas was confirmed by the Senate and still sits on the Supreme Court, but Hill has not given up the fight. She has launched the Hollywood Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality (“HCESHAE”) survey of the entertainment industry.
Commission members include TV and movie studios and talent agencies, including the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, Live Nation, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and Amazon.
The HCESHAE is partnering with the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, a non-profit focusing on integrity in the workplace, to administer the survey. Expect a summary of the findings available for public release in early 2020.
Open to All and Anonymous
The survey, available online, is open to anyone in the industry who works in the entertainment industry or has tried to work in it, and responders remain anonymous. The HCESHAE emphasizes there is no way that responses are traceable, and privacy is guaranteed.
The idea behind the HCESHAE survey is the use of results to develop anti-bias and harassment policies in the industry. According to Hill, it is necessary to have reliable data revealing not only the specifics of such behavior but the culture of the industry “that enables and hides them.”
Gathering this critical data means that everyone, no matter their station in the Hollywood hierarchy, has the chance to respond. That goes far beyond performers and includes anyone who has worked in the industry, from writers, wardrobe and hair stylists, executives, film and TV crews, and those in public relations and similar media.
Freelancers, as well as those employed in the industry, are permitted to take the survey. In fact, freelancers are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment, since they do not have access to many of the safeguards already protecting industry employees.
Since the #MeToo movement came on the scene two years ago, toppling some of the most powerful males in the entertainment and other industries, Hollywood has made some changes in the way it handles sexual harassment. The Academy of Motion Pictures, which oversees the Academy Awards, along with certain labor unions, have put together guidelines aimed at dealing with the issue.
Not only are people now urged to come forward and report such incidents, but hotlines have been established, and the practice of holding meetings or auditions in private offices or hotel rooms –a la disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein – are restricted.
What is Going Well
Hill notes that the survey is not designed just for pointing out what is wrong with the industry when it comes to sexual harassment, but what is working well. Evaluating areas of improvement is crucial. The only way the HCESHAE can obtain an accurate picture of the current environment is by having as many people involved in the industry participate in the survey as possible.
Do you think were harassed at work or by a co-worker? Visit our workplace harassment FAQ page for more information. Ready to see if you have a case? Contact us online or by phone at 877.858.8018. All inquiries are protected by the attorney-client privilege and kept CONFIDENTIAL. (There is never a fee for a consultation.)