In October of 2017, we were witness to an overdue awakening from a deep and long-standing denial of the blatant sexual misconduct routinely experienced in the workplace.
Brave survivors shared their stories in what has come to be known as the #MeToo Movement. With the entertainment world at the epicenter, producer Kathleen Kennedy, speaking as the industry’s conscience, called for the establishment of a “commission charged with the task of developing new, industry-wide protections against sexual harassment and abuse.” Kennedy’s summons could not have been more timely or important.
Just two months later, in December of 2017, Kennedy’s idea began to take concrete form when 26 industry decision-makers and thought-leaders gathered to acknowledge the scope of the problem and begin the search for solutions. At that meeting, they formed what they called the Hollywood Commission to Eliminate Sexual Harassment and Advance Equality in the Workplace. And I agreed to serve as the Chair.
This report chronicles the first year of Hollywood Commission’s efforts. As our Member Organizations acted to ensure safety and respect in their workplaces, the Hollywood Commission staff embraced the opportunity to offer advice and resources and to establish best-practices standards to make our community one in which equality, respect, and accountability are the norm. Our goal is to provide assistance to our Commission Organizations so that across the industry they can address what isn't working and can showcase, share, scale up, and duplicate what is.
The Hollywood Commission’s greatest value lies in its ability to bring the Member Organizations together to take on industry-wide problems and to develop cross-industry efforts and initiatives. From our engagement with leaders throughout the entertainment industry, I have found that there are unfortunately a large number of workers in our industry who have no access to effective anti-bias training, no less to a consistent and safe system for reporting, addressing, and resolving bias and harassment claims. This is unacceptable.
The fact is, we won’t be able to fulfill our mission to "lead the entertainment industry to a strong and equitable future" unless and until all industry workers enjoy the same protections—safe, fair, and appropriate resolutions to complaints and effective anti-bias training.
In 2019, a strategic priority for the Hollywood Commission will be to develop a system to report and ultimately resolve incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination involving freelancers who are not covered by existing systems.
I am certain that if our Commission Organizations continue to come together as a collaborative, collective body, we will make gains that we can be proud of. The spotlight is on us. What we do in the entertainment industry can and will resonate beyond the precincts of Hollywood. For the sake of what we know is right, we must prove equal to this task.