Producer’s Guild of America Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines (and Me)

An email just showed up asking if I’d seen to the new Producer’s Guild of America anti-sexual harassment guidelines, and whether I’d endorse having them implemented on any film/TV production I’d work on, or which was based on my work.

For reference, here are those guidelines.

My thoughts: The guidelines seem reasonable and to the extent I will have any say in these things, I’d endorse them for any production I work on or which is adapting my work. I don’t think it’s onerous from an implementation point of view, and bluntly I don’t think it’s too much to ask for that any production of my work be as harassment-free as possible. So, yes, I’ll bring this to the attention of my current production partners (particularly those who are in the PGA), and any future ones. Given who I’ve chosen to partner with, I don’t expect much in the way of push-back.

Also, you know. Apparently Wonder Woman 2 is going to be the first production to adopt these guidelines. If it’s good enough for Wonder Woman, it’s good enough for me.

21 Comments on “Producer’s Guild of America Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines (and Me)”

  1. The guidelines look quite reasonable. Of course, the key will be getting them implemented in an meaningful way in each business and production. Lip service and pro forma compliance is worse than nothing, as it gives people a false sense of security. But that would be true of any set of guidelines. As in so many things, the tone set from the top is crucial.

    An industry-wide ombudsman might be a good way to discourage harassment and related bad behavior, but to the best of my knowledge NO industry has yet taken such a step.

  2. Some women will test these new guidelines by reporting when they are harassed (when, not if). All the other women will watch what happens to those early utilizers. If adequate consequences happen to the harassers, not their victims–and by “adequate” I mean consequences that are actually what is outlined and that actually deter future harassment–then this system will work. A few courageous people test every new system like this that comes down the pipeline and everybody else watches to see what happens to them.

    I’m delighted to see this on WW2 and in general. It’s a good step forward if it’s fully implemented and there are no consequences to the victims. Cheers to progress.

  3. One hopes that this has some teeth and is applied at all levels. The language and examples are encouraging. After all this was not a problem with the “rank and file” so much as the “movers and shakers”, as was always this.

  4. It’s good to have these guidelines

    It’s bad that we NEED these guidelines, that w/out them many people would be unsafe

    As others say, we’ll have to see how effective they are in practice. This is just one step, though it is a necessary and important step

  5. They look good. I’m pleased to see that they provide a list of resources (legal and other) and that they explicitly state “Sexual harassment is gender-neutral and orientation-neutral. It can be perpetrated by any gender against any gender.”

  6. Acronyms. For a split-second, Sean, you had me thinking that World War 2 requires a better producer than World War 1.

  7. And your comment, Pedro, left me coming up with quite a few quips, but the first several were in pretty poor taste, so I’m going to go divert myself elsewhere instead.

  8. They are all acting like they have no idea what to do about this situation and how to act regarding harassment and in the workplace, as if the guidelines were new things they didn’t already have decades ago, as if they had no clue about how to act back in the 1980’s, 1990’s. Why this is a totally new thing for which we need these new rules!

    No it’s not. They knew and know now exactly how they should be behaving, and about the discrimination in the industry that creates the situation in the first place. It’s just that there’s a slightly greater chance recently of guidelines being enforced and negative consequences occurring, along with more vocal opposition to the discrimination in the culture and to the limitations placed on women in the industry, meaning that cover-ups, escapes and claims of future lack of knowledge aren’t going to necessarily fly as well as before. They’re not buying the manure, so some of it finally is being shoveled out.

    I’m glad that they have the guidelines, but the studied disingenuousness of the guilds and others about producing the guidelines and how difficult it is to put them together and implement them and how surprising the whole thing is, etc., as if they’d suddenly discovered a new continent, is beyond annoying. It’s enraging, and it’s a dragging of feet in a culture that is still sadly in love with sexual abuse, particularly if it’s aimed at women. But it’s a start.

  9. Kat: “They knew and know now exactly how they should be behaving,”

    And yet there is no universal agreement as to whether Ansiri Aziz crossed that line you think is so clearly and so easily drawn.

    Leann Tweeden accused Al Franken of asking her to rehearse a kissing scene for a USO show and then … kissing her. I think one can find video of tweeden introducing robin williams on a uso stage and then groping him for a joke followed by williams pretending to zip up his pants. And tweeden grabbing some musicians butt on another uso stage.

    I am sure YOU know exactly where this line is drawn, but apparently it gets fuzzy once other people get involved.

  10. How is the Aziz matter relevant? It wan’t a workplace incident. It’s a bit disingenuous to say that, “Oh, dating rules are confused right now, so that means people must be confused about how to behave at work too.”

    As for Franken… think of it this way: would you say the same thing if his accuser had asked to rehearse a scene with a slap in it and he, without asking, slapped her full strength? There are kisses and there are kisses.

  11. Dear Beryl,

    Ah, pay no attention to the massive derailing “but whatabout X!” Nothing to see, move along move along.

    pax / Ctein

  12. Beryl: “How is the Aziz matter relevant? It wan’t a workplace incident.”

    Every company i have worked at for the last N decades has had annual anti sexual harassment training and they always spend at least some time talking about the rules of dating between employees, trying to explain where the lines are as to what is and is not appropriate. Its never a hard and fast line. Certain things are explained as absolutely unacceptable, but it is impossible to draw a complete line of all possible behaviors.

    Kat says that line is bright and clear, and has been for ages, and the only reason people are dragging their feet to write rules is because they love sexually abusing women.

    If Aziz and “Grace” had been coworkers, there would likely be no clearly defined set of conditions in any HR manual that would say it was or was not over the line. It would require interpretation, and the response to the Aziz/Grace incident has been pretty brightly split as to whether it was acceptable or not.

    When people say its hard writing these kind of rules, its because it is HARD writing these kind of rules. Not because they are “in love with sexual abuse” especially towards women.

  13. I did notice a similarity to the legal and other definitions of harassment and its subsequent policy. I think responses are less of an applause and more a sigh of relief. The more widespread previous policies are instated, the more infrastructure there is for dealing with the inappropriate behaviour.

  14. Just to be clear, I am glad to hear they’re finally doing the work to implement these rules.

    They have known about this problem for decades and are only doing it now because their lies arent going to work anymore. Their claims that this is difficult are also lies and can only indicate their personal active membership in the culture that loves to sexually abuse women.

  15. My granddad, a conservative born in the 1890’s, would not have found these guidelines onerous. He believed that he could not respect his wife, mother, women in his family without respecting all women. There are other things he would have had problems with, but inappropriate comments, touching, harassment, were things that were not acceptable.

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