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CinemaCon to Include Sexual Harassment Hotline, Tougher Code of Conduct

CinemaCon will include a code of conduct expressly barring harassment and discrimination at the four-day conference for theater owners.

It is the first time that the exhibition industry event has outlined such policies and is an illustration of the cultural shift taking place in the movie business in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. The annual gathering draws A-list stars and studio executives to Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace. They come to Sin City to pitch their upcoming film slates and sell theater owners on an upcoming batch of summer blockbusters that will include “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Ocean’s 8,” and “Avengers Infinity War.”

“It’s Las Vegas,” said Patrick Corcoran, a spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, the trade group that puts on the showcase. “There’s lots of bars and lots of people, and we want to make sure that even as everybody is there enjoying themselves, there are policies in place to make sure they’re protected.”

The guidelines have been posted on CinemaCon’s website and will be included in welcome packets and as part of the electronic confirmation of registration given to attendees. In addition, the conference is setting up a 24-hour hotline during the conventions that attendees can call if they are harassed or witness someone being harassed.

“The National Association of Theatre Owners is committed to allowing attendees to experience CinemaCon free of harassment, discrimination, sexism, and threatening or disrespectful behavior,” the code reads. “CinemaCon attendees violating this policy may have their credentials or access revoked without a refund at the discretion of the conference organizers.”

The movie business is continuing to grapple with the fallout from sexual misconduct allegations against scores of industry figures — a group that includes Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, and John Lasseter.

In the wake of these scandals, CinemaCon isn’t the only industry event to crack down on harassment. The Sundance Film Festival also revised its code of conduct this year to reflect new guidelines aimed at preventing sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Corcoran said Sundance’s move influenced CinemaCon organizers, but he stressed that they had considered toughening up their policies last summer.

“We don’t want to deal with incidents on a case-by-case basis,” said Corcoran. “That’s a recipe for trouble. We want to be consistent with what’s acceptable and what isn’t.”

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