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SAG-AFTRA Offering Sexual Harassment Counseling Services

SAG-AFTRA, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and the Actors Fund have announced they are working together to offer workplace sexual harassment counseling services for the 160,000 members of the union.

The organizations said Friday that the services are administered by trained counselors at the Actors Fund by phone and in person at the Actors Fund offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Chicago. The services include assessment, crisis and short-term supportive counseling, education on individual rights and legal avenues, referrals to related resources, and, when needed, referrals for other clinical services.

SAG-AFTRA is proud to introduce this important service to our members,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “While our existing Safer Set hotline assures workplace safety issues are addressed, it has become imperative that we make available counseling to our members who have or are experiencing workplace harassment. We are grateful to partner with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation as well as The Actors Fund and their team of professional counselors to meet this need.”

Carteris concluded by saying, “In addition to enhancing the union’s capacity to process workplace harassment reports in recent months, being able to offer counseling to our members is one more step in our ongoing efforts to address the sexual harassment epidemic in our industry.”

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Carteris has been pushing for SAG-AFTRA to deal with the sexual harassment issue since the Oct. 5 bombshell revelations about disgraced executive Harvey Weinstein.  SAG-AFTRA released a Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment in February instructing its members how to deal with the issue and in April, it called for ending auditions by members in hotel rooms and private residences.

The union was able to negotiate contract language specifically limiting those practices in its tentative successor deal with networks on non-primetime television. The tentative agreement was sent out to members for ratification last month.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation president JoBeth Williams said Friday, “This past year has been a reckoning for sexual harassment abuses in our industry. Our three organizations have come together to ensure that workplaces and working environments in this industry will be safe and secure. No SAG-AFTRA performer should ever feel alone or without recourse when it comes to sexual harassment or assault. We want all SAG-AFTRA professionals to know that they are not alone in this business.”

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