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Time To Stand Up - From The Presidents

Posted By Gail Berman & Lucy Fisher, Tuesday, December 11, 2018

It’s been just over a year since the issue of sexual harassment in our industry exploded into national headlines. The shock and horror at the extent of the problems inherent in our work environment have catalyzed a broad reassessment at every level of our industry, as men and women have engaged in important and long overdue reflection. Across the industry we have had difficult conversations examining a power imbalance that has been universally accepted for far too long. It’s our responsibility to conduct our businesses more respectfully, working to eliminate both the conscious and unconscious biases that exist within our places of work. While it’s been a painful year of reckoning, for many of us it’s also been a galvanizing year. The opportunity to lead the PGA as we face this collective challenge and the chance to work together to create new norms and reimagine this system played a decisive role in our joint desire to serve as your Presidents. Now that we’ve held the office for a few months, we’d like to take a brief inventory of where we are and what we hope to achieve.

As background, as soon as the news of rampant entertainment industry harassment became public, then-PGA Presidents Lori McCreary and Gary Lucchesi, together with our COOs Vance Van Petten and Susan Sprung, quickly leapt into action, establishing a task force to explore how we could best protect our production teams, our sets and the community at large. Led by Lori and Gary, the team of both men and women worked through last year’s Christmas break to help create the entertainment industry’s first Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines. This document has since served as a template for other organizations and guilds and has become a valuable resource for both employers and workers. While we’re proud of the Guidelines, and of the speed and diligence with which the PGA was able to act, we realize that repairing this broken system requires more than just guidelines and referrals. We know that the improvements and changes we desire will require some overhauls of the status quo, and we are ready to work together to strive for a safer and more equitable industry for all producers.

 During the research period conducted by our Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force, one thing we heard repeatedly from our members was the need for more access to specific training for producers and their teams, focusing not only on how to create a safe and constructive environment on set but also on how to address harassment issues when they inevitably do occur. We also learned that many of our members were not generally knowledgeable regarding the existing state laws already in place to protect workers. We are currently investigating new means for offering more extensive education and training, but in the meantime, simple first steps are available via the PGA website, in both the Anti-Harassment Guidelines and in four online courses. There is one specifically focused on harassment prevention, included as part of the Safety Pass Program offered through the Contract Services Administration Training Trust Fund (CSATTF). These courses are available to PGA members for a nominal fee.

As producers we are leaders both on and off our sets. We set the tone for creating a climate of safety, fairness and parity with no tolerance for any form of harassment, assuring that people can always speak up without fear of reprisal.

Your team arrives on set every day with the expectation that they will be respected and protected. It’s up to us as producers to meet those fundamental expectations. We hope that over the next few months and years, when we look back at this pivotal time, we will be able to say this was a moment when as a group, we stood up—not only because we had an obligation to do so but because we had a unique opportunity to rewrite this story. It’s what producers do—we fix things in our constant pursuit of bettering what we have in front of us. We overcome obstacles to find solutions to whatever problems we encounter. And we don’t stop until we feel collective pride in the work we have accomplished.

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