The International Federation of Actors (FIA) Executive Committee has unanimously approved a declaration on sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the entertainment and media industries.
The declaration, authored and sponsored by the American performers union Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), recognizes the rights of all performers to a safe and harassment-free working environment and urges the industry to work in good faith with unions and performer organizations to develop a long-term strategy to achieve discrimination-, harassment- and retaliation-free work environments.
FIA President Ferne Downey said, “The scandal involving Harvey Weinstein revealed problems that were all too familiar to women – and men – in our industry. We know that sexism in our industry is real. We know that there are sexual harassers who use their power to intimidate. And we know that this needs to change. And as union leaders we are taking a stand – we seek nothing less than a major cultural shift. We will develop a long-term strategy towards a zero-tolerance and harassment-free work environment.”
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said, “We are very proud to author and sponsor this declaration. Sexual harassment and abuse is pervasive across nations and we are committed to working with our fellow FIA members to develop and implement educational and informational materials and best practices in this area. Working together we can help curtail this abuse now.”
The declaration was issued during the FIA Executive Committee Meeting in Zagreb, Croatia on behalf of the Federation’s 87 affiliated unions and performer organizations representing hundreds of thousands of actors and performing artists in more than 60 countries worldwide.
In other work on the topic of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation, the Executive hosted an informational panel moderated by FIA Presidium member and SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White, and featuring Zoe Angus, National Director of the Equity Section of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) of Australia, Christine Payne, General Secretary of Equity U. K. and Arden Ryshpan, Executive Director of Canadian Actors Equity Association. The panel discussed efforts underway to support and lift up the voices of individuals who have experienced harassment and develop strategies for dealing with the issue.
Today’s declaration brings together a broad group of global performer organizations to tackle the issue and take concrete action to support members. It reads in part:
FIA APPLAUDS the courage and commitment of the many performers that have spoken out in recent days about their experiences of sexual harassment and discrimination in the entertainment and media industry, despite the real risks of confronting the perpetrator of that harassment or discrimination;
FIA CONDEMNS in the strongest terms any individual that has chosen to carry out sexual harassment, discrimination or retaliation for the reporting of sexual harassment;
FIA URGES the industry to treat this matter seriously and to work with determination and in good faith with unions and performer organizations to develop a long-term strategy to achieve a discrimination, harassment and retaliation-free work environment;
FIA DIRECTS the FIA Global Diversity Working Group to take appropriate measures on behalf of the Federation to prevent and reduce harassment, discrimination and retaliation through education, information sharing, establishing best practices, and providing support to FIA affiliates, including but not limited to, creating and distributing tool kits, designed to empower FIA affiliates to take prompt, effective action within their own jurisdictions; and
FIA INSTRUCTS the Working Group to report its actions and recommendations to the next meeting of the FIA Executive Committee.