The initiatives in which ACTRA has taken part – the round tables, the town halls, the industry meetings, the news releases, policies and the Code of Conduct
– all feel like a lot of words. But the result of those words is that we all know, in no uncertain terms, that there is a problem. We all need to take personal responsibility for not only what we say and do, but for what we see in the environment around us.
The film industry has long been “unregulated,” as far as corporate or HR policies go. There has never been protocol around dating a co-worker, using foul language or making off-colour jokes. In traditional office settings, you don’t often see an employee get up at a meeting to go give a coworker or the CEO a shoulder massage. Yet on a film set, this happens all the time.
While most of us are not Harvey Weinsteins, we have not been nurtured in a workplace with guidelines of respect that many other industries take for granted. A shoulder massage may be just that, but it may also be something that makes someone uncomfortable. The #metoo movement has widened, at least for me, to encompass how I treat and perceive everyone on set. While my little “joke” may have not intended any harm, I have no idea about the history or triggers of the person to whom I am speaking. I have no idea if they are a survivor or if my sense of humour would make them feel uncomfortable. They are not paying to see my act. They are at work.