Study Says Hollywood Still Has ‘Permissive Climate’ of Sexual Harassment, Racism

Clouds are shown over the iconic Hollywood sign Thursday Feb. 27, 2014 in Los Angeles. Southern California got an overnight soaking Thursday as residents prepared for a second, more powerful storm that could bring heavier rain and prompted fears of mudslides in communities along fire-scarred foothills. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
AP Photo/Nick Ut

Left-wing Hollywood elites like to lecture Americans on the importance of diversity and inclusion. But a new study has found that the entertainment industry is failing to live up to the standards it wants to impose on others.

Among the study’s biggest findings is that the industry continues to foster a “permissive climate” toward sexual harassment, despite the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement.

The new study from The Hollywood Commission, led by Anita Hill, is the latest report card on the entertainment business’ efforts to rid itself of the sexual harassment stigma and to embrace diversity and inclusion at all levels of the industry, from the executive suites down to the production crews. The survey was conducted among 10,000 workers at all levels in the industry.

The commission found that less than half of the people surveyed felt that the industry is welcoming of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. The outlook on sexual harassment and workplace abuse is even worse.

“Despite awareness of unacceptable workplace behaviors, workers reported disappointingly high rates of bias, bullying and sexual harassment. Few reported these behaviors to their employer. Many experienced retaliation,” the report concluded.

Only 35 percent of survey participants believed that it was “very likely or somewhat likely that the harasser would be held accountable.”

Anita Hill wrote in the report that while Hollywood is making improvements, a lot of work remains ahead. “There is far more to do to enshrine diversity and inclusion in the industry’s value system and to bridge the divide between leadership’s intentions and the everyday experience of workers in Hollywood,” Hill wrote.

The study found less than half of Hollywood workers, or 48 percent, said they saw “people welcoming and valuing diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives often or very often.” Only 39 percent of those surveyed agreed that the industry “acknowledges and respects the dignity, unique perspectives and experiences of every person.”

One anonymous worker who participated in the survey alleged that her bosses gave her assignments to flirt with other “powerful people” in order to get her bosses meetings. “I declined because I was married and was uncomfortable with the request for all sorts of reasons,” she said.

Other anonymous survey participants alleged a pervasive culture of verbal abuse in Hollywood, especially towards people of color.

The study found Hollywood allows sexual harassment to continue even after the Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement.

“Despite perceived progress, the entertainment industry has a permissive climate toward sexual harassment,” the study concluded. “Workers don’t believe powerful harassers will be held accountable or that their reports will be taken seriously, and they view reporting as risky.”

Hill urged the industry to change. “Now is the time to recommit to diversity and inclusion as a business imperative, a social mandate and a safeguard against future crisis. Put simply, it is the right thing to do,” she wrote.

The Hollywood Commission was created in 2017 around the time of the Weinstein scandal to tackle sexual harassment, abuse, and equality in the entertainment industry.

Anita Hill, who accused Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, serves as the organization’s chair.

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