NBC Stars Talk Impact of #MeToo on TV Sets: ‘The Reeducation of Men in the Workplace’

Jennifer Carpenter, Retta, Lorraine Toussaint, Susan Kelechi Watson. Jennifer Carpenter, from left, Retta, Lorraine Toussaint and Susan Kelechi Watson participate in the Women of Drama panel during the NBCUniversal TCA Winter Press Tour, in Pasadena, Calif2019 Winter TCA - NBCUniversal, Pasadena, USA - 29 Jan 2019
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

The impact of the #MeToo movement is trickling onto sets everywhere, provoking more thoughtful discussion among actors.

“Last season, when everything was coming out, we had a lot of male guest stars actually ask us questions, which we found interesting and nice,” said “Good Girls” star Retta at NBC’s “Women of Drama” panel at the TCA winter press tour

“Specifically having men ask us, what have you dealt with, why do you think it took until now… It’s becoming more and more obvious that more and more women experience it,” she said. “That’s what I noticed, that guys were actually asking us about it. Guys who couldn’t believe it… they think it’s insane. And it’s like, yeah, it’s not insane.”

And it has given not just casts, but crews, avenues to discuss inappropriate behavior.

“There was someone who said something inappropriate to a crew member, and then that crew member had a platform where she could say, ‘This is not cool,'” said “The Village” lead Lorraine Toussaint, calling it the “reeducation of men in the workplace.” “So I love that it’s going across the board for women in the workplace… we’ve all been privy to utterly inappropriate behavior, language, treatment.”

“The greatest part of it is that many men didn’t even know that this was inappropriate or offensive,” she added.

That impact also includes how intimate scenes are approached, and the increasing use of intimacy coaches on set. When asked about the use of such coaches, Toussaint asked what an intimacy coach was.

The “Orange is the New Black” and “The Fosters” alum said that earlier in her career, she has felt “particularly vulnerable, and I’m glad to hear that there are intimacy coaches because I’ve been my own advocate and I’ve been a bit of a Nazi about making sure that it’s a closed set – and that includes sound. if you don’t have to be on the set, go away.”

“Part of the #MeToo movement, if nothing else, is empowering us to be our own advocates when no one else is around,” she said.

Praising an on-set “This Is Us” meeting to discuss what constitutes inappropriate behavior, Susan Kelechi Watson said that “There was a consciousness about that that I found really respectful.”

(Pictured: Jennifer Carpenter, Retta, Lorraine Touissant and Susan Kelechi Watson)