We are still living in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the domino effect it has caused, both in Hollywood and internationally.
The Producers Guild of America (PGA), a “non-profit trade group that represents, protects and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media,” according to its website, released a set of guidelines to be used to combat sexual harassment and assault on sets.
A common misconception heard about people being “up in arms” over sexual harassment is predominantly men asking if they cannot hug or interact with women anymore. The answer is yes, but as the PGA so clearly states “a hug, kiss on the cheek or casual touch is not necessarily sexual harassment. The key is whether the behavior was unwelcome or offensive.”
The guidelines lay out a clear explanation of what constitutes sexual harassment and how to help combat it. Then they lay out a series of recommendations for productions to look to: following the law, having proper reporting procedures, having a counselor/advocate on set and other actions in line with this.
It also includes a section on what victims, witnesses and others can do to help and combat this issue.
This is a groundbreaking protocol because it makes it easier to access guidelines that any and all productions can use to help provide safe working environments for their cast and crew.
And what is the first movie to implement these protocols? “Wonder Woman 2.”
To many, it is no shock that a woman-directed and woman-led film would be the first to implement guidelines that protect predominantly women on film sets.
Other films, TV shows and different media types need to step it up and join the ranks of “Wonder Woman.” Providing a safe working space is essential, and while safety and health codes primarily prevent harmful or deadly experiences, sexual assault and sexual harassment can create life-long trauma.
PGA’s guidelines provide a clear and concise way for anyone, not just those in production, to know how to tackle sexual harassment in the work place. If more businesses took on similar codes, their human resources departments could be trained and know how to better deal with reports of sexual harassment.
We’re living in an age (which, really, we should have always been living in) where protecting victims is important. Hearing their voices, showing them empathy and working to stop that kind of commonplace violence is crucial.