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SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex.

“Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for our members doing hyper-exposed work. At a time when the industry still needs to make great changes, our initiative will ensure the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work and respects the boundaries of actors.

The performers union announced Sunday that it is collaborating on the initiative with Alicia Rodis, the associate director and co-founder of the three-year-old Intimacy Directors International. SAG-AFTRA said the guidelines will seek to establish new, relevant policies for nudity and simulated sex; define the duties and standards for intimacy coordinators on productions; and specify acceptable training, vetting and qualifications of intimacy coordinators.

“These specifically implemented guidelines will allow productions to run more efficiently while the specialized support empowers both cast and crew,” said David White, national executive director. “We look forward to working with our industry partners and allies to ensure these guidelines work for our members and others on set. Many productions are already using intimacy coordinators so it is imperative to codify and standardize the work to best benefit SAG-AFTRA members and the industry as a whole.”

The initiative was previewed by Carteris and staff members for the SAG-AFTRA national board at their meeting Saturday.

SAG-AFTRA noted in the announcement that it has been dealing with workplace issues in the wake of the increased attention on sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. It established a “Code of Conduct on Sexual Harassment” instructing  its 160,000 members how to deal with the issue last year. The union has also included harassment protections in the recent deals for Netflix, non-primetime TV and commercial contracts in addition to a ban on auditions in private residences and hotel rooms.

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