The guidelines, issued Friday on the day before the PGA’s awards show, are the initial recommendations from the PGA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force, which was created last October after the start of the massive sexual harassment scandal that engulfed Hollywood. The PGA’s board of directors ratified the guidelines unanimously this week.
“Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of the Producers Guild membership,” said PGA presidents Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary. “We provide key leadership in creating and sustaining work environments built on mutual respect, so it is our obligation to change our culture and eradicate this abuse. While the PGA is a voluntary membership organization, the PGA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Guidelines are sanctioned as best practices for our members.”
Lucchesi and McCreary credited the Time’s Up organization as a resource in creating the protocols. “We will continue to work with them, the industry-wide Commission led by Anita Hill, and other organizations in our community until sexual harassment is eliminated from the entertainment workplace,” they added.
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Lucchesi told Variety in a recent interview that creating the guidelines is a crucial move because of the central role of producers.
“Producers really do set the tone on sets,” he added. “I do think that if something wrong happened now, many of our members would step in.”
The duo, who are completing their fourth year as co-presidents, also issued a forceful statement in the current issue of the PGA member magazine with the headline “It Stops Here. It Stops Now. It Stops with Producers.”
“We can try to find ways to soften the impact of this statement, mentally re-categorizing him as ‘mostly an executive’ or ‘mostly a distributor,’ ” that statement began. “It doesn’t change the fact that whenever Harvey’s name appeared onscreen, it was next to a producing credit and he was, until recently, a member of the Producers Guild.”
The new PGA guidelines open with a declaration that the PGA is committed to fostering work environments free from sexual harassment.
“We are in a transitional moment as a society, in which we are re-evaluating behavior in the workplace and beyond,” the statement asserted. “Producers possess authority both on and off the set, and can provide key leadership in creating and sustaining work environments that are built on mutual respect. Ultimately, prevention is the key to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace. Through sufficient resources we can educate our members and their teams. Together we must model our commitment to a workplace free of harassment and encourage colleagues to do the same.”
The PGA’s first recommendation: “First and foremost, all productions comply with federal and state laws regarding harassment. If you are uncertain about the nature of the law, please consult with your in-house legal department (if you have one) or with an attorney.”
The guild also recommended that each production provide in-person anti-sexual harassment training for all members of the cast and crew prior to the start of production and prior to every season of an ongoing production.
“Effective training should not be simply focused on avoiding legal liability, but must be part of a culture of respect that starts at the top,” it said. “Such training takes different forms and styles; make certain that the training you utilize is tailored to your specific production and its needs. Producers should ensure that the individual trainer has experience providing training in the area of sexual harassment laws and that all levels of management are present at the training in order to demonstrate the production’s commitment to the policy.”
Additionally, the PGA recommended that each production continue to be vigilant in efforts to prevent sexual harassment during the production process and that each production offer reporting procedures that provide a range of methods and multiple points-of-contact, including contacts at different organizational levels and in different geographic workplaces.
“We suggest designating at least two (2) individuals, ideally of different genders, that cast/crew members can approach if they are subject to or witness harassment,” it added.
The recommenations also include the instruction that reports of harassment are listened to with attention and empathy.
“If a cast or crew member reports an incident of harassment, assume the complainant is being sincere until further inquiry can be undertaken, while bearing in mind that the report itself does not predetermine guilt,” it said. “Reassure the reporting party that the production takes harassment very seriously and that s/he will face no retaliation for reporting. The production should move quickly to address the allegations or engage a third party to do so, allowing for as much transparency as can be provided.”
Additionally, the PGA said producers need to be alert for any possibility of retaliation against an employee who reports harassment and take steps to ensure that such retaliation does not occur.
“Producers should be sensitive to interpersonal power dynamics and the way even their casual questions or requests may carry implicit authority,” it added. “We recommend that producers conduct all meetings and/or casting sessions in an environment that is professional, safe and comfortable for all parties, and encourage others on the production to adhere to these same standards.”