Equity calls for tighter audition processes to protect actors from harassment
Auditions should be conducted in the presence of at least three people to protect actors from sexual harassment, Equity has urged.
The union has this week released initial findings into sexual harassment in the sector, with a full report due in February.
The interim report, called The Agenda for Change, reveals that a dedicated helpline will be established, through which members can report abuse. It adds that agents should have a “code of practice which will include dealing with allegations of sexual harassment brought to them by their clients”.
Regarding auditions, the union states that it supports a recent code of conduct established by the Casting Directors’ Guild, and adds that auditions and castings should only be held in “appropriate and recognised work spaces”.
The interim report adds: “They should never involve only an actor and a casting director/director, but should also include at least one third party.”
Equity’s initial report also stipulates that employers should clear policies and procedures outlining that “bullying, harassment and sexual harassment will not be tolerated from anyone”.
“The employers’ policies must be attached to all contracts and signed when the contract is signed,” it states, adding that employees need a “properly trained ‘go-to’ person with whom problems can be raised.
The findings of the committee state that venues that hire out its spaces to visiting companies must make it a condition that the company has its own policies regarding harassment and bullying.
It also says that venues that host solo performances must recognise that “it can be audiences who are the perpetrators of bullying or harassing language”.
The interim findings claim that Equity will be looking for legislative changes that could benefit performers, such as “ensuring that third-party harassment claims are included as an employer’s responsibility”.
The report coincides with Equity general secretary Christine Payne giving evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee about sexual harassment in the workplace.