Hollywood Commission Mounting Second Survey on Abuse and Power Disparity in Entertainment Industry

The Hollywood Commission, which works in partnership with 26 companies, unions and guilds, academies, and talent agencies to end discrimination, harassment, bullying, and abuse in the entertainment industry, Oct. 20 announced the launch of its second “Entertainment Survey.”

The survey is designed to give a voice to entertainment industry workers while providing the community with crucial insight surrounding the progress made in the past five years toward meaningful systemic change.

The survey is now live at hollywoodentertainmentsurvey.org, and the Hollywood Commission encourages all members of the community to participate in the anonymous questionnaire.
 
Chaired by Anita Hill and founded by board members Kathleen Kennedy and Nina Shaw, the Hollywood Commission was formed in 2017 to bring together entertainment executives, independent experts, and advisors to take the necessary collective steps towards tackling the culture of abuse and power disparity in the industry.
  
This second survey is seeking responses from members of the community through Nov. 27, 2022.

“As the Commission and partner companies offer new resources, initiatives, and training in workplaces throughout the entertainment community, this second survey is a temperature check to specifically identify what progress has been made and where work still needs to be done,” according to the Hollywood Commission.
 
Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

According to the Commission, with a goal of 20,000 responses‚ more than double the participation of the first survey — the new survey will include expanded demographics to ensure representation across all communities; an added focus on employees working in the gaming sector; new questions that measure and assess whether and in what ways people experience colorism; and questions focusing on survivor support and the resources needed for victims of retaliation to get back into the industry.

The survey is open to entertainment workers in television and film, commercials, live theater, music, broadcast news, talent representation, public relations, corporate settings, and the gaming sector, from countries including the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and countries throughout Asia, Oceania and the South Pacific. 
 
When the results are tabulated, the Hollywood Commission expects to learn where systems can be improved. Survey responses will focus the Commission’s efforts over the next several years — informing the issues that it will elevate for the community and pinpointing where the organization will prioritize its resources, according to the Commission.
 
“As we seek to determine what systemic progress we have made over the past several years, the second Hollywood Commission Entertainment Survey is more important and in many ways consequential than our first,” Hill said in a statement. “With this new edition, we hope to double the participation of the first survey, which will help provide us with the insight we need as we continue to focus our efforts on our next phase of work. The key to that will be participation — we need to hear directly from all workers about their experiences. We look forward to working with our partners to encourage everyone in the industry to respond and participate, safely and anonymously.”
 
The first-of-its-kind survey, published in 2020, received responses from 9,630 entertainment workers. Findings included: 
 

  • 65% of respondents didn’t believe that a powerful individual, such as a producer or director, would be held accountable for harassing someone with less power;
  • only 28% of respondents who had experienced an incident of gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, or sexual coercion reported it to employers — because they think they won’t be believed, nothing will happen, or they’ll be retaliated against; and
  • while men and women reported gender harassment (demeaning jokes or comments based on gender; sexually crude terms and insults) at similar rates (62% of men, 67% of women), females experience unwanted sexual attention (42%), sexual coercion (20%) and sexual assault (5%) approximately twice as often as males (22%, 9% and 2%, respectively).

 

Full reports of the 2019-20 survey may be found here
 
The results of the new Hollywood Commission survey are expected to be completed and released in early 2023.
 

Amazon Studios Releases Inclusion Policy and Playbook for Original Content Production

Amazon Studios June 16 released a comprehensive inclusion policy that it says extends its commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity for its content and productions, as well as guidelines for its collaborators in the creative community.

The recommendations come as Amazon Studios says it continues to seek out stories and storytelling that amplify voices across race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability (including mental health), body size, gender, gender identity, and gender expression for the global Prime Video audience.

“We wanted to move beyond good intentions to creating mechanisms that hold us accountable to a high bar,” Latasha Gillespie, executive head of diversity, equity and inclusion at Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “This playbook adds additional depth and guidance for our internal teams and external partners to ensure we continue to advance our shared mission of amplifying the best creatives and content around the world.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The studio in 2017 got caught up in the #MeToo movement when its boss, Ray Price, was forced to resign following allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Price was replaced by Jennifer Salke.

Salke says the studio’s new playbook on diversity and inclusion underscores its commitment to being a “thought and action” leader in the transformation of Hollywood.

“We know how much work there is to be done to improve representation both on camera and behind the scenes, and it starts at home, with us,” Salke said. “With clear directives and a commitment to accountability, these guides provide a path toward a more equitable future, both on- and off-camera.”

Specifically, the playbook outlines production goals for each film or series with a creative team of three or more people in above-the-line roles (directors, writers, producers) should ideally include a minimum 30% women and 30% members of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group. This aspirational goal will increase to 50% by 2024.

Casting actors whose identity (gender, gender identity, nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability) aligns with the character they will be playing.

Aiming to include one character from each of the following categories in speaking roles, with minimum 50% of these to be women: LGBTQIA+, person with a disability, and three regionally underrepresented race/ethnic/cultural groups. A single character can fulfill one or more of these identities.

Seeking at least three bids from vendors or suppliers on productions, one of which must be from a woman-owned business and one from a minority-owned business.

Pay equity across casting, behind the camera staff and crew, and for vendors and suppliers.

Amazon Studios said it shared the playbook with creators, including Gloria Calderón Kellett, creator and executive producer of the upcoming Amazon Original series “With Love.”

“Inclusive hiring is what makes change,” said Kellett. “Opportunity and an eye towards changing things through action is what makes change. Thrilled that Amazon has put together this playbook to start important conversations with their other creatives.”

The studio said it would provide a report template for each production to indicate whether these expectations were met, that would be submitted within one month of the completion of principal photography. This reporting exceeds the minimum standards set by the Academy of Motion Pictures, but ensures Amazon is poised to report on the diversity of their films for Academy Award contention.

The playbook puts in place intentional practices to minimize and disrupt biases, providing specific guidance that will help everyone within and working with Amazon Studios to meet expectations.

It also provides direction on how to make inclusive decisions, while telling authentic stories and hiring the best people for the job; knowledge of where to go for help, including tools to make inclusive decisions; tools to identify criteria for making creative choices, leading to balanced, consistent and informed decisions; and ways to foster curiosity and ask questions to disrupt the status quo about “how things are done.”

Amazon Studios worked with Dr. Stacy Smith and Dr. Katherine Pieper of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and with Brenda Robinson of the International Documentary Association and Gamechanger Films on the creation of the playbook. The studio also consulted with organizations devoted to advancing the visibility and responsible depictions of underrepresented or marginalized people, including GLAAD, Illuminative, Think Tank for Inclusion & Equity, and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

Smith says current outcomes of DEI work within the entertainment industry have been disingenuous, underscoring the systemic barriers to entry that have long plagued Hollywood.

“But now, Amazon Studios has created a comprehensive new blueprint that will change Hollywood by elevating those who have historically lacked access,” she said. “I’m immensely proud of this new policy and I know it will be a gamechanger throughout an industry often resistant to real change.”

Netflix Releases Teaser Video Clip for ‘House of Cards’ Final Season

Netflix Sept. 5 released a brief trailer (19 seconds) for the pending (Nov. 2) final season of “House of Cards” that is noteworthy for what it reveals happened to lead character President Frank Underwood, played by disgraced actor Kevin Spacey.

Frank’s wife, Claire, played by Robin Wright, assumes her husband’s role in the new season.

The critically-acclaimed Netflix original series was turned upside down when allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Spacey decades ago and on the “Cards” set surfaced. Netflix shut down production of the show and subsequently fired Spacey.

CBS Says It Will Investigate Sexual Misconduct Claims Against CEO Les Moonves

The board of directors at CBS Corp. July 27 said it will investigate claims of sexual misconduct by longtime CEO Les Moonves disclosed in an expose by Ronan Farrow in The New Yorker.

Farrow’s article  alleges Moonves engaged in unwanted touching and kissing of female subordinates over the past 20 years.

Read Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker here.

“All allegations of personal misconduct are to be taken seriously,” the board said in a statement. “The independent directors of CBS have committed to investigating claims that violate the company’s clear policies in that regard.”

The board noted the timing of the expose coinciding with CBS’ ongoing legal battle with corporate parent National Amusements, headed by Shari Redstone and her ailing father Sumner Redstone.

“While that litigation process continues, the CBS management [which includes Moonves] has the full support of the independent board members,” said the statement.

Farrow won a Pulitzer Prize for another expose that outed Harvey Weinstein’s long history of sexual harassment. The story led to Hollywood’s #MeToo movement, and subsequent criminal indictments against Weinstein.

The Weinstein Co. Files for Bankruptcy Protection

As expected, The Weinstein Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware – five months after allegations of improper sexual behavior by co-founder and co-chairman Harvey Weinstein derailed the venerable studio/distributor.

TWC reportedly is set to sell its assets to Dallas-based investor group Lantern Capital Partners.

“Under the agreement, Lantern will purchase substantially all of the assets of [TWC], subject to certain conditions, including approval of the bankruptcy court,” TWC said in a statement reported by NPR. “The [TWC board] selected Lantern in part due to Lantern’s commitment to maintain the assets and employees as a going concern.”

Notable to the deal: removal of non-disclosure agreements allegedly used by Harvey Weinstein to silence his female accusers.

“The company expressly releases any confidentiality provision to the extent it has prevented individuals who suffered or witnessed any form of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein from telling their stories,” read the statement.

Earlier this month, an investor group led by former Small Business Administration head (under President Obama) Maria Contreras-Sweet and investor Ron Burkle, had agreed to pay $500 million for the TWC, which included assumption of $225 million in debt.

That deal fell apart reportedly after additional liabilities totaling more than $60 million were discovered.