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Equity: report on sexual harassment out

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Equity, report, sexual harassment, stage, screen, auditions, Safe Space campign, helplineRethinking the way we deal with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry

The actors’ union Equity has published its report on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry and launched a ‘Safe Space’ campaign.

In the report, ‘Agenda for Change: Equity’s report on sexual harassment’, Equity is demanding a safe working environment where members will not have to endure or observe sexual harassment and where perpetrators understand there is nowhere to hide.

The report sets out what is required from educators and the industry – the engagers, venues, agents, boards and casting directors.

For example, a dedicated helpline will be established, so members can report abuse, and agents should have a “code of practice which will include dealing with allegations of sexual harassment brought to them by their clients”.

When it comes to auditions, Equity said that it supports a recent code of conduct established by the Casting Directors’ Guild, and that auditions and castings should only be held in “appropriate and recognised work spaces”.

Auditions and castings should also never involve only an actor and a casting director/director, but should also include at least one third party.

Employers should have clear policies and procedures outlining that “bullying, harassment and sexual harassment will not be tolerated from anyone”.

And venues that hire out its spaces to visiting companies must make it a condition that the company has its own policies regarding harassment and bullying.

To download the report, click here.

Equity’s new Safe Space campaign aims to encourage members to have the confidence to challenge inappropriate behaviour and to report it, knowing that Equity is always there for them.

The first part of the campaign will see the be distribution of the Safe Space poster, which will promote the union’s harassment helpline: 020 7670 0268.

Equity expects this poster to be visible in green rooms, casting suites, rehearsal spaces and suchlike spaces throughout the UK.

Equity is also a developing a step-by-step guide that will offer clarity on unacceptable behaviour and good practice as well as advice on what members should do if they are the victim or observer of sexual harassment or assault.

Actor Maureen Beattie, Equity’s vice president, who led the union’s working group on sexual harassment, said: “This report represents an opportunity – an opportunity which may not come our way again for many years – to harness the energy released by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, and rethink the way we deal with sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.

“I’ve suffered sexual harassment in my career, both as a victim and as a bystander, and it is my fervent hope that the work that follows this report will lead to a future where no-one has to suffer harassment of any kind, ever again.

“If we are to create a workplace truly without fear it is imperative the industry accepts the recommendations in this report.”

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