Sexual assault has been occurring in the film industry as far back as 1921, but during the last decade is appears to be gaining strength with allegations coming forward against directors, producers, actors, publicists, and casting directors. Reports of sexual abuse in entertainment began multiplying after director Roman Polanski was convicted on charges of sexual abuse against a minor. After this conviction, more people started feeling comfortable about bringing their abusers to justice.
Other big Hollywood names gained media attention in more recent years for committing acts of sexual abuse, which led to dozens of women and men to expose sexual aggression in the industry. Organizations or movements began, such as the Weinstein effect and the Me Too Movement.
The Weinstein Effect is a worldwide movement that started in 2017 after film producer Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual abuse. It is a trend where people are coming forward and accusing powerful or famous men of sexual abuse and misconduct. The Harvey Weinstein case was the tipping point for people across the globe to start saying, 'no more.' They were no longer remain silent about the abuse due to their abuser status, power, or ranking.
Me Too Movement
The Me Too Movement encourages people to come forward and share their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment. This movement is responsible for bringing justice against men in positions of power who have committed sexual abuse and have been successful in ending the political careers of others who have sexually abused others.
For far too long, people have associated sexual abuse with the film industry as a means of getting ahead or getting a part or role. This association is no longer acceptable. No one has the right to hold their position over another as a means of gaining sexual favors for doing their job. If a casting director has used sexual abuse as a means of promising you a role or part in a production, it is a crime, and you need to step forward.
Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm has been defending the people of California for years and understands how the legal system and the entertainment industry work. We are here to help you find compensation and justice if a casting director has forced sexual conduct on you for the promise of a part in a production.
Casting Director Sexual Abuse in Entertainment Industry
Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general runs on favors. There are constant requests made of casting directors to 'find something right' for another. These requests are for themselves, their niece, their mother's neighbor's daughter, and so on. The casting director is one of the most sought-after parties for others to 'want' something from. All these requests for special considerations and favors are most likely what led to many of them feeling powerful and thinking they deserved a few favors of their own. Being in a position of power, no matter how big or little seems to make a person feel they are 'entitled' to have leverage over others. If you have had an encounter with a casting director who used sexual abuse as leverage against you, you are entitled to file a claim. Contact Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm and talk to us about your legal options.
There is a union in place for members of the entertainment industry, SAG-AFTRA and it was put in place to protect them:
SAG-AFTRA is a labor union that represents film and television journalists, actors, recording artists, voice actors, singers, television actors, radio personalities, and other media professionals across the globe. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) has the power. It should create protections to combat sexual abuse and harassment, which all members of the union are vulnerable to.
Some feel the union fails to represent them fairly and, in fact, sends a message to predators in the industry that the union is giving them a free pass. If you have been sexually abused and are not receiving the protection the union should be providing, contact Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm and we will discuss your case and find a legal recourse you can take for justice.
A study conducted on the American film industry found more than ninety percent of women employed in this industry experience some form of sexual abuse or harassment. The study was conducted across many branches of the film industry, including editors, actors, and directors.
The conduct ranged from:
- Unwelcome sexual comments
- Gestures, jokes
- Being touched in sexual ways
- Shown pictures with sexual content without consent
- Forced to perform sexual acts
- Constant touching or unwanted flirting
- Sexually suggestive comments
- Forcing one to take sexually suggestive photographs whether for a professional shoot or other reasons
- Ongoing comments about how you look, your body parts, and your weight
Sexual abuse, also a significant part of this conduct, was women being ordered to appear naked for auditions when they were not listed as part of the role. The Director of the Center for Gender Equality and Health states these results were relevant and credible. Sexual abuse is higher in the entertainment industry where the 'casting couch' has prevailed for decades and by many is considered a 'normal' function within entertainment.
This phrase has earned its place in the entertainment industry. It is in reference to the supposed practice where actresses or actors are given parts in plays, films, or other productions in return for their sexual favors to the casting director.
Guidelines Implemented to Combat Casting Director Sexual Abuse
The new movements that have arisen in light of the allegations being made regarding top names in the entertainment industry and sexual abuse have enabled women to feel more secure in standing up to their abusers. These movements have also moved the Producers Guild of America to take the situation more seriously and implement new guidelines to combat sexual abuse and harassment in the film industry.
Progress in the movement was proven when the sequel to Wonder Woman signed up to the guidelines. It is hoped other upcoming productions will do the same.
Producers Guild of America Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines
The Producers Guild of America is an organization protecting, representing, and promoting the interests of all members in a producing team. The guidelines they've set forth are committed to fostering work environments that will be free from sexual abuse or harassment.
The guidelines they've created are designed as prevention and elimination of sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. It is to help educate members and their teams and also provide them with the tools to facilitate reporting, prevention, protection, and counseling.
The guidelines are not legal advice; they are being put into place to assist those in the entertainment industry to create programs and policies that will help individuals who respond to sexual harassment and abuse.
These guidelines are a good first step, but may not cause a radical change in how casting directors respond. Film producers are able to opt-out of joining this organization, or they can leave if they are not inclined to follow the guidelines. The guidelines are not legally binding, so the members of the Producers Guild of America are only bound by their 'best practice' suggestions.
Sexual abuse or harassment can be considered discrimination under the law. Still, if it doesn't have a legal requirement to put the guidelines into practice, producers may not even bother with signing up with it.
Why Sexual Abuse by Casting Directors Go Unreported
While the new movements such as Me Too and the Weinstein Effect are allowing more and more people to come forward with their sexual abuse charges, there is always the fear of speaking out. Many find that working in this sexually charged environment every day leaves one with few choices to speak out against sexual abuse. The fear of challenging sexual abuse and being replaced is high. Careers in the entertainment industry are precarious. These positions are often based on nepotism and the ‘old-boys’ network.
It is the hope of the PGA (Producers Guild of America) that their guidelines will change this mind-set. When people in the industry realize they can talk and make a complaint to people they can trust, it will make a significant impact on helping victims and improving the work environment for those working in entertainment.
How to File a Claim Against a Casting Director for Sexual Abuse
If a casting director has sexually abused you, your first step is to contact your union representative at SAG-AFTRA. If you do not receive adequate support or justice, contact the Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm, and we will review your case for further compensation. The first step with your union is to fill out the Complaint Questionnaire, which will be reviewed by the EEO and Diversity staff.
The EEO and Diversity staff reviews your questionnaire and determines if SAG-AFTRA should file a claim on your behalf. If it is felt your case should advance, the producer will be sent a formal complaint with a copy of the policies regarding harassment discrimination. The company will be required to investigate the allegation and take immediate action to remedy any inappropriate conduct.
The producer will be required to submit a copy of the investigation to SAG-AFTRA, stating what the results were as well as the action taken. SAG-AFTRA will then share this information with you and explain what if any measures were taken.
Legal Representation Against Sexual Abuse by Casting Director
If you are a victim of sexual abuse by a casting director, you need an attorney who can represent your interests. When you try to fight this system on your own, it can be terrifying and challenging. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm routinely handles high-conflict and high-profile cases and understands how you will want your privacy protected as much as possible. Many casting directors have a high-profile names in the business, and making an allegation against one can have a significant impact on you. With the proper legal counsel, you can:
- Have assistance with all media requests, interviews, or press conferences
- Keep your name out of sight whenever it is legally possible
- If a settlement is offered, your negotiations can be kept quiet
- If you are being sought after for photographs, legal counsel can find you a safe refuge
- Respond to social media if it becomes an issue
If a casting director has sexually abused you, others may have been involved who could have prevented or protected you against this crime. There may be other parties liable for their actions or lack of actions, including:
- The production team
- The production company
- Your agency
- The security company
- Your manager
- Your co-workers
- Others on-site where the abuse occurred
If you work in music, film, television, or any part of the entertainment industry and have been sexually abused, you need to tell your story. Sexual abuse can cause life-altering changes in your emotional health, and in order to heal, you need to seek justice against your abuser. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm is ready to help you through this emotional trauma and make sure you are able to heal by receiving the compensation and justice you deserve for this crime against you.
Sexual Abuse by a Casting Director or Others
The prevalence of sexual abuse and harassment has been exposed by the Me Too Movement in regards to religious leaders, journalists, entertainers, sports professionals, and casting directors. Many victims are now coming forward with their horrific stories of sexual abuse or harassment charges against abusers who up until now thought they were untouchable.
It is your right to be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness no matter what role or part you are trying for, and yet some people in power still continue to harass. You need experienced legal representation if you are a victim of someone who is using their power or place to force you into sexual encounters with the promise of receiving a part or a role in a production. No one in any position of influence has the right to hold a post from you if you do not perform a sexual act with them.
Sexual harassment is also a significant problem in the entertainment industry. This harassment includes dirty jokes, unwelcome sexual advances, sexually explicit images, inappropriate gestures, and offensive emails. When a sexual advance of one of these occurs once, it is typically not considered sexual harassment; however, when the behavior becomes a pattern or when offensive verbal or physical behavior creates a hostile work environment, you have grounds to file a complaint about sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is a crime from the first time incident; it is unlawful to use sexual abuse as an adverse employment decision.
The harasser or abuser can be a woman or a man and can also be the same or different gender as the victim. An abuser or harasser can be a supervisor, a boss, a coworker, and in some instances, a client. The abuse can also occur in a non-workplace environment.
You have the right to speak out against sexual abuse when it used in any means. If a casting director is withholding a role or part from you unless some form of sexual act is completed, you have the right to file a claim. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm can provide you with the information you need and the help it will take to file a claim so you can seek justice against this crime.
In response to your allegations or if you are cooperating with the case of a co-worker, friend, or family member, there cannot be adverse decisions made regarding you or your chances of obtaining work. If you file a claim against a sexual abuser, you cannot receive a lower grade if the abuser is a teacher, or be refused a part or role from a casting director if they are your abuser.
Resources for Sexual Abuse Victims of a Casting Director
As sexual abuse allegations have started to flood after the Harvey Weinstein cases were brought to light, it has left a lot of people with questions on how and what they should do as victims. Victims who are being harassed, abused, or even placed in situations where sexual advancements make them uncomfortable are wondering what their options are and where they can find help to fight the injustices they have suffered.
Whether you have been sexually abused by a casting director or any other member of the production team, you need experienced legal representation. Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm can help you find the answers you need. We have the necessary experience to handle sexual abuse cases and will find the best resolution for you so that you can move on with your life and your career. There are also several resources available for people to help them guard against harassment of all forms in the entertainment industry.
Planned Parenthood Sexual Assault Services
Planned Parenthood Sexual Assault Services helps survivors of sexual abuse and harassment no matter how long ago the act took place. This service is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and will provide counseling, education services, and advocate for your rights.
S.A.F.E. L.A. (Stop Abuse From Existing in LA) is available to victims living in the Los Angeles area and is a domestic abuse awareness resource. This service shelters those who have or are enduring abuse in any form. This service also has a branch in Southern California, and both operate on a 24 hour a day and 7 days a week schedule.
SAG-AFTRA is for members of the screen actors’ guild and has a harassment policy that protects its members. If a member is sexually abused, has been discriminated against, or harassed, they can report the actions to the SAG-AFTRA. Cases filed with the union are processed according to the union's policies and internal guidelines.
If you are not protected by the union (SAG-AFTRA), you are still protected from sexual abuse under Title VII. This federal law, set forth by the Supreme Court, states it is a crime when the workplace is permeated with ridicule, insult, discriminatory intimidation, or any sexual actions that are pervasive in nature to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create a hostile work environment.
RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline
RAINNs (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) is a hotline you can call no matter where you are and receive instant connection with an employee who has been trained in sexual assault services. This hotline operates under confidentiality and will help you to learn what your options are and answer any questions you have on how to seek justice for the abuse you have suffered.
Actor’s Equity Association
Actor's Equity Association is a union for stage managers and stage actors and has a Nudity Code to specifically reduce the risk of sexual abuse and harassment in the industry. This union strictly enforces anti-discrimination action and follows the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Department. If a member of the Actor's Equity Association has a discrimination allegation, they can contact the Equal Employment Department by email or phone to initiate a full investigation.
Where Can I Find Help For Sexual Abuse by a Casting Director Near Me?
California has more than eighty different studios, and some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry make their home in this state. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse from a casting director or anyone else associated with the industry, call Stop Sexual Abuse Law Firm today at 310-359-9451.
You deserve an attorney who will fight for your rights no matter who your abuser is or where the abuse took place. Sexual abuse is illegal, and it doesn't matter what industry you work in. You should not be asked or expected to provide any form of sexual act to receive a role or part in any type of production. Call today, and we will work with you to find the respect, dignity, and justice other survivors have found and what you deserve.