Los Angeles (AFP) – Amid a torrent of accusations of sexual misconduct, including rape, in Hollywood, the entertainment industry’s biggest union demanded Thursday that actor auditions no longer take place in hotel rooms or residences.
The decision, called “Guideline No. 1,” marks the first expansion of SAG-AFTRA’s Code of Conduct published in February that aims to tackle harassment and help increase equity in the industry.
“SAG-AFTRA opposes auditions, interviews and similar professional meetings from taking place in private hotel rooms or at private residences,” it said.
“We call on producers and other decision makers with influence or control over decisions that can impact a career, to STOP holding professional meetings in these high-risk locations and find alternative, appropriate locations for professional meetings.
“Furthermore, we call on SAG-AFTRA members and their representatives to STOP agreeing to professional meetings in these high-risk locations.”
In cases where a member cannot find an alternative location, the union recommends attending the meeting accompanied by a person of trust.
The guidelines come amid a massive sex scandal roiling Hollywood that first erupted with accusations against one-time major producer Harvey Weinstein in October.
Weinstein is said to have sexually harassed and abused hundreds of young actresses, models and employees since the 1990s.
In each case, there was a recurring theme of him inviting women to his hotel room to talk about work before proceeding to take off his clothes, offer them a massage or ask them to watch him masturbate — all under promises of fame or threats to ruin their careers.
Mira Sorvino, Asia Argento, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne and Lea Seydoux are among those who denounced Weinstein, who is now under investigation.
The claims against Weinstein triggered a watershed moment that saw revelations of widespread sexual abuse in the entertainment industry that has felled other Hollywood heavyweights. The abuse often happened in hotel rooms.
“We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting,” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement.
The union represents some 160,000 actors and other entertainment and media professionals.