The actors’ union Equity is encouraging all organisations that work with its members to adopt robust procedures to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse at work.
The union has published a report outlining a number of action points for itself, casting directors, agents, workplaces and venues, engagers and boards. They include for engagers the stipulation that they should not allow non-disclosure
agreements to create a safe haven for sexual harassment and for casting directors a call to ensure castings and auditions are conducted professionally in appropriate workspaces.
More generally the report says it will encourage an industry-wide culture of no more bystanders and talks about the need for greater enforcement of codes of conduct and greater protection for whistleblowers.
It says: “Laughing off unwanted sexual “banter” and ignoring small slights contribute to fostering an environment where sexual harassment can take place.”
However, it states that it should not be up to brave individuals to make a difference. The report calls for those who hold positions of authority and manage the industry to uphold their duty and responsibility to provide a safe working environment.
It states: “The union is putting the industry on notice that we will be using these policies and codes to hold them
to account…All engagers must raise the bar and recognise the status quo cannot stand. That also means addressing the gender and power imbalances in our workplaces. Women are not the only victims of sexual harassment, but it does overwhelmingly affect them. Appointing, promoting and supporting more female-identifying directors, producers, board members, cast and crew will be important in making progress on tackling this problem.”
Meanwhile, more than 70 female TV writers have written an open letter, accusing drama commissioners of failing to give them opportunities to write for the biggest tv shows.