Anita Hill will serve as chair of a new commission created by some of Hollywood’s most powerful executives that will explore ways to eliminate sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry.
The 61-year-old attorney and Brandeis University professor will lead the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The commission was reportedly borne out of an industry meeting called by Lucsafilm president Kathleen Kennedy, attorney Nina Shaw, Nike Foundation chairwoman Maria Eitel and venture capitalist Freada Kapor Klein. Some of the most powerful executives in film, television, and music will participate in the effort, including the heads of Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Netflix, talent agencies WME, UTA, and CAA, AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson, and Atlantic Records COO Julie Greenwald.
The creation of the commission comes as the entertainment industry (along with media and politics) has seen dozens of its most prominent figures accused of sexual harassment or abuse, including A-list actors, high-profile producers, talent agents, and studio executives.
The flood of revelations began with an early October New York Times exposé into the behavior of producer Harvey Weinstein, and has since picked up steam as millions have participated in the #MeToo online movement.
In a statement, Kennedy said the commissions would seek “not just one solution, but a comprehensive strategy to address the complex and inter-related causes of the problems of parity and power.”
“The fact that so many industry leaders — across film, television, music, digital, unions, agencies, ATA, AMPAS, television academy and guilds — came together, in one room, to explore solutions speaks to a new era,” Kennedy added.
Hill made national headlines in 1991 when she came forward with accusations of sexual harassment during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. In her own statement, Hill called the process to end sex abuse in Hollywood a “long overdue journey” and said the commission hoped to create “institutional change that fosters a culture of respect and human dignity throughout the industry.”
“We will be focusing on issues ranging from power disparity, equity and fairness, safety, sexual harassment guidelines, education and training, reporting and enforcement, ongoing research, and data collection,” Hill said. “It is time to end the culture of silence. I’ve been at this work for 26 years. This moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.”
The commission will reportedly meet again in early 2018 to begin its work.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum