Fall 2018

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H as it really been a year since the world first learned of Harvey Weinstein's abuses? On the one hand, a lot has certainly happened since The New York Times and The New Yorker opened the floodgates to a long-overdue national reckoning by exposing Weinstein for the miscreant he was. We have seen the rise of #MeToo and Time's Up and the fall of dozens of powerful people accused of sexual misconduct. Countless survivors have been empowered to speak out and seek justice. But as we mark this bittersweet anniversary, we are faced with a troubling question: Has anything really changed? The ongoing reckoning prompted by the Weinstein revelations is not simply about toppling predators from their perches — though that's obviously part of it. More fundamentally, it's about the need to create workplace cultures where everyone is valued equitably; where discrimination and harassment are universally condemned; where respect is the norm, regardless of job or demographic. It's about giving voice and creating choice, so that equality in the workplace becomes simply the way business is done. SAG-AFTRA has taken a number of pointed steps in this direction. We effectively declared a ban on the places and situations where the so-called "casting couch" lives with a new guideline that calls for the end of business meetings in private homes and hotel rooms. We're opening up reporting channels and providing training so our members know what to do when they confront or witness unacceptable behavior. And the union along with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, is bolstering The Actors Fund counseling services specifically in the areas of discrimination and harassment. These are positive changes, to be sure, but they're hardly enough to dismantle centuries of sexism and inequality. That's going to take sustained effort from everyone, an effort that attacks the problem at its root. At its core, sexual harassment is an abuse of power, and it particularly devalues and diminishes under- represented groups like women, people of color and people with disabilities. Ending this abuse requires more than paying lip service to catchy slogans and retweeting trendy hashtags. It requires respecting survivors of harassment and discrimination when they're brave enough to share their experiences. It requires creating real equity in the workplace. And it requires recasting the fundamental imbalances of power that allow abusers to act with impunity. Take pay equity. Paychecks are how employers indicate employees' value. So if all employees were assessed on their work in an equitable way, it would show in their paychecks. For most women and minorities, at both the top and the bottom of the pay scale, it generally doesn't. That's why it was so encouraging to see HBO respond to the demand for pay equity by boosting the salaries of the female stars on Westworld and other series to match the men's. Netflix did the same after reports showed it had paid Claire Foy, the Emmy- winning star of its acclaimed series The Crown, less than her male co-star. But to really erase inequities and misconduct in the workplace, we must equalize the power differential — from the executive suites to the sets and studios — in these industries dominated by cis- gendered, straight, white men. Hiring and promoting women changes more than workplace culture; it can also shift culture at large. American Horror Story creator Ryan 66 SAG-AFTRA | Fall 2018 |

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