SAG-AFTRA Announces Protocols for Intimacy Coordinators

Guild’s new protocols continue push to increase actor safety during filming of sex scenes

SAG-AFTRA announced on Wednesday morning a new series of standards and protocols for intimacy coordinators, continuing the latest push to make coordinators that oversee sex scenes in film and television an industry standard.

“It has been powerful to collaborate with our industry partners as we work to standardize the protocols for industry coordinators,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris. “These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work. Intimacy coordinators play a unique role by advocating for performers’ safety and ensuring that a production’s creative needs are met.”

Intimacy coordinators are liaisons between actors and production that ensure that all intimate scenes in a production adhere to safety protocols and that actors have constant understanding and communication concerning the scene’s requirements to make sure they have informed consent.

SAG-AFTRA’s protocols, which you can read here, outline the job description and requirements for intimacy coordinators, which include state and federal background checks. The coordinator is to be a part of the production process before, during and after filming, communicating with producers, directors, actors, and all other necessary parts of the crew to determine the specific details of intimacy scenes and to help the director achieve their creative vision while maintaining consent from all involved.

“These guidelines directly address the problem of sexual harassment on sets,”said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White. “This is a homerun for our members and the entire industry. Having Intimacy Coordinators on sets where simulated sex and other forms of intimacy are present, better protect SAG-AFTRA members and all other professionals involved in such scenes.

“These Standards and Protocols reflect input from the full community of Intimacy Coordinators working in the industry today. We are grateful for their input and for the feedback received already by industry allies and partners who have also worked with us, and who have expressed an eagerness for clarity around this important role. There is more work to be done by all of us in the industry, including standardized training and expanding the number of experienced professionals to serve in this role. These Standards and Protocols lay a solid foundation for this growth and for the continued, seismic change needed to eliminate the scourge of sexual harassment in our industry.”

Last year, HBO made it a requirement for intimacy coordinators to become a part of all productions involving adult content, including on “The Deuce,” a show that chronicles the rise of the porn industry. The Lorena Scafaria film “Hustlers,” which follows strippers that scammed Wall Street executives, also used their own form of intimacy coordinators, called “comfort consultants,” to help its cast handle some of the more sexually provocative scenes in the film.

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