The year has just begun, and already a lot is going on. Just last week we achieved a significant milestone in our continuing efforts to prevent sexual harassment. Working in conjunction with experienced intimacy coordinators, we developed a framework for the use of these specialized professionals. Intimacy coordinators bring safety and expertise to the set when our members are performing hyper-exposed work such as nudity or simulated sex. They provide a safety net that protects performers’ dignity, ensures consent and offers support, when needed. These new standards and protocols will make a meaningful difference, not only for our members, but for the industry as a whole.
Speaking of protecting members, in early January I visited Las Vegas, where SAG-AFTRA partnered with the AFL-CIO to host the 2nd Annual Labor Innovation and Technology Summit. Executive Vice President Rebecca Damon, National Executive Director David White and members of the Innovation and New Technology Committee joined me for an important discussion with fellow labor leaders, tech and entertainment industry luminaries, and academics about the impact technology has on workers.
At CES, we got a first-hand look at the new ways of generating synthetic voices and images that are so lifelike that it’s only a matter of time before they have a profound impact on the work SAG-AFTRA members do. I strongly believe these kinds of educational and participatory events are crucial. We need to lead the discussion to ensure that these new technologies are understood and are not abused to the detriment of our members.
Last, but definitely not least, I must mention our SAG Awards show on Jan. 19. I want to congratulate the talented casts and individuals who were honored this year. The room was filled with a sense of true camaraderie and appreciation for the stories we are invited to tell. The sense of unity was palpable and so very important.
As Robert De Niro spoke of how meaningful it was to be a part of “this community” and “have a career with dignity and creative fulfillment,” he acknowledged that we as “actors don’t do it all alone, we can’t do it alone. We depend on each other.” He went on to thank SAG-AFTRA “for tirelessly fighting on our behalf for workplace and economic gains and respect.” His was the perfect voice to help carry us into our upcoming negotiations. We don’t do it alone, we are the union and we must stand together as one united voice.
Strength in unity,