Time's Up Releases Guides to Inform Actors of Rights During Auditions and Intimate Scenes

The Time's Up Foundation, the organization founded to provide safe workplaces for women, released three guides with resources for actors to know their rights in regards to auditions and nude or intimate scenes, as well as their rights to report misconduct.

The Time's Up website noted that these guides were created to "cover specific circumstances where people have historically been preyed upon, such as auditions and nude, intimate, and simulated sex scenes, as well as general guidance about your options and rights." The website also noted that knowing individual's rights can be confusing, as "the entertainment industry is not a typical workplace.

Mara Nasatir, Time's Up director of initiatives, told Newsweek that due to long hours on set and very little separation of personal time and work, often creates a "casual" atmosphere in the industry.

"What we've tried to do is empower people to feel like they can take it upon themselves to treat these situations professionally, and prepare for them in a way that professionals would," Nasatir said. "A lot of that is about knowing your own boundaries as a performer and communicating those boundaries. We have tried to, in these guides, take people through the process of thinking: 'What am I comfortable with? What am I not comfortable with? How do I communicate that? Who do I communicate that to?'"

The first guide details actors' rights in auditions and how an actor can recognize abuse. The organization warns against attending auditions in private hotel rooms or a personal residence, noting that historically, these are "high-risk locations," and actors can file complaints against employers with the Screen Actors' Guild (SAG-AFTRA) if they are asked to audition under these circumstances. "No matter your union status, you can say 'no' to a casting if the location makes you uncomfortable," the guide also stated.

In an interview from this past April on The Howard Stern Show, Bombshell actress Charlize Theron recalled going to an unnamed producer's home for an audition in the early '90s and experienced harassment. According to Theron, the producer told her he just wanted to talk, "and then at one point, he put his hand on my knee, and I just went 'oof.'" She said she immediately left after the incident.

The guide also breaks down "chemistry reads," auditions where two actors considered for a role are brought in together to interact. Chemistry reads sometimes involve intimate acts like kissing and nudity. The guide advises actors to write an agreement, expressing their boundaries, and discussing their boundaries with the casting director and acting partners.

It then explains what qualifies as illegal harassment, providing specific examples of "quid pro quo harassment," which is when a supervisor requires an employee or applicant "to submit to sexual advances as a condition of employment or career advancement"; and "hostile work environment harassment," which is when another employee, not necessarily a supervisor, conducts themselves in an unwelcome "severe or pervasive" way, which negatively affects the work environment or the employee's performance.

The second guide discusses intimate and nude scenes. Many similar guidelines are made, including knowing boundaries and what to look for in a nudity rider, which is a contract that sets the terms of a nude scene. It also offers preparations an actor can make before and during an intimate scene shoot as well as requests that can be made after filming.

The guide also encourages actors and crew to work with an intimacy coordinator. "Their goal is to keep performers physically and emotionally safe while realizing the director's and producer's vision for the performance," the guide stated.

"A good intimacy coordinator is somebody who is well-versed in the art of performance, but also in navigating the tricky emotional and interpersonal issues that arise when filming a nude, intimate, or sex scene," Nasatir said. "They act as both an advocate for the director's vision and for the producer's vision, but also they act as advocates for the actors, and they really can add a level of professionalism to a set."

Last December, The Hollywood Reporter reported that actress Ruth Wilson left The Affair over alleged disputes regarding nude scenes. Sources told THR that Wilson received push-back when she raised concerns and was called "difficult." THR also reported that Showtime allegedly did not hire an intimacy coordinator, until The Affair's final season.

The third guide provides information about reporting sexual harassment and workplace misconduct. In addition to resources, Time's Up also wrote advantages, disadvantages and considerations that employees should have when reporting to an employer.

"We've really tried to create something that people can access easily, and we are going to continue to try to make it easier for people to reach these resources," Nasatir said. She also noted that Time's Up is planning on translating the guides to Spanish and possibly other languages. The guides can be accessed on the Time's Up Foundation website or by texting "Safe Sets" to 30644.

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