The Producers Guild Issues New Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines

January 22, 2018

The Producers Guild of America issued “Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines” in hopes of eradicating the industry-wide problem of sexual harassment within Hollywood. The protocols reflect the initial recommendations made by the PGA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force; they were unanimously ratified by the PGA’s board of directors and presented to its 8,200 members on Friday.

“Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of the Producers Guild membership,” PGA presidents Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary stated. In the current issue of the PGA magazine, the presidents acknowledged that Harvey Weinstein has been, until recently, a member of the Producers Guild, and they insist, “It Stops Here. It Stops Now. It Stops with Producers.”

The PGA, which represents film, television, and new media producers, starts by recommending:

“First and foremost, all productions comply with federal and state laws regarding harassment. If you are uncertain about the nature of the law, please consult with your in-house legal department (if you have one) or with an attorney.”

They encourage all productions to provide in-person anti-sexual harassment training for each member of the cast and crew before production begins as well as prior to every season of ongoing productions. For the training, they recommend:

“Effective training should not be simply focused on avoiding legal liability, but must be part of a culture of respect that starts at the top. Such training takes different forms and styles; make certain that the training you utilize is tailored to your specific production and its needs. Producers should ensure that the individual trainer has experience providing training in the area of sexual harassment laws and that all levels of management are present at the training in order to demonstrate the production’s commitment to the policy.”

The protocols call for producers to offer reporting procedures throughout each production, saying, “We suggest designating at least two (2) individuals, ideally of different genders, that cast/crew members can approach if they are subject to or witness harassment.”

Also, producers are urged to take complaints seriously and receive them with empathy. “If a cast or crew member reports an incident of harassment, assume the complainant is being sincere until further inquiry can be undertaken, while bearing in mind that the report itself does not predetermine guilt.”

Producers are told to reassure any person who brings forth a complaint that “s/he will face no retaliation for reporting,” and once informed, they are to “move quickly to address the allegations or engage a third party to do so, allowing for as much transparency as can be provided.” Furthermore, the guidelines instruct producers to be on the lookout for anyone seeking retaliation: “Producers should be sensitive to interpersonal power dynamics and the way even their casual questions or requests may carry implicit authority. We recommend that producers conduct all meetings and/or casting sessions in an environment that is professional, safe and comfortable for all parties, and encourage others on the production to adhere to these same standards.”

The Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which subsidizes legal support for individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace, served as one of the resources used while creating the guidelines.