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SAG-AFTRA Defends Negotiated Sex Scene Regulations in New AMPTP Contract

Time’s Up and the guild’s Los Angeles local board say protections do not go far enough

SAG-AFTRA’s national leadership defended the group’s proposed new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, pushing back against a statement from Time’s Up that called the contract’s regulations for nude and sex scenes inadequate and urged guildmembers to vote no.

In a statement Tuesday, SAG-AFTRA said that Time’s Up didn’t have “the right or the invitation” to comment publicly on the proposed contract.

The deal contains several new regulations for intimate scenes, among them: Use of personal recording devices during auditions and filming is prohibited; all principal actors involved in an intimate scene must receive a “nudity rider” outlining details and requirements for review with at least 48 hours notice; and actors must have a robe to cover up with during filming.

But opponents — including Time’s Up and the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local board which voted 29-13 against recommending the contract — say that it needs stricter language on who is allowed on set and greater protections for background actors involved in nude scenes.

“While we support TIME’S UP for their unique contributions to a cause in which we all believe, we completely disagree with their assumption that they have either the right or the invitation to intrude into this collective bargaining process that is led by the members for whom this organization and these agreements exist,” the guild said.

In addition, the guild countered several objections raised by opponents. A SAG-AFTRA representative argues that the contract does contain protections for background actors, including the guarantee that background actors can still be paid if they are not notified in advance that a scene requires nudity or simulated sex. Other protections for principal actors, including the exclusion of any non-essential crew on sets of intimate scenes or in areas with production monitors, also apply to background actors.

Unlike regular actors, background actors are regularly hired the day prior to a scene being filmed via special agencies and therefore cannot receive a rider for intimate scenes with at least 48 hours notice. However, the guild says that the contract requires the AMPTP to send a bulletin to these agencies “directing them to obtain as much information as possible from the producer regarding any required nudity and/or simulated sex acts and provide that information to the background actor prior to booking.”

The guild also disputed claims by the L.A. local that the contract does not contain protections negotiated by ACTRA, Canada’s actors union. Specifically, SAG-AFTRA refuted claims that section A24 of the ACTRA contract held more specific language regarding access to intimate scene sets or language about the usage of intimacy coordinators, which have been pushed by Time’s Up and other organizations in the past year as a means of creating a safer environment on sets. The guild and opponents have disputed whether the approximately 40 intimacy coordinators that have been certified for film sets are enough to oversee all nude and simulated sex scenes filmed on any given day and therefore require them for all productions in an AMPTP contract.

Guild members have until 5 PM PT Wednesday to vote for or against approving the proposed contract. For more on the arguments for and against the contract, check out our report at WrapPRO.