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Time’s Up Says ‘There Is More Work to Be Done’ With Approved SAG-AFTRA Contract

Organization says actors ”cannot continue to work in an environment where sexual harassment and other forms of demeaning and degrading behaviors persist“

Time’s Up has responded to the newly ratified contract between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP that was approved by its members Wednesday night, saying that “there is more work to be done to ensure safety on sets and across the industry.”

Time’s Up shockingly asked SAG-AFTRA members to vote “no” on the contract, saying that the agreement did not go far enough in providing protections for actors performing nudity or simulated sex.

“The newly ratified 2020 SAG-AFTRA TV/Theatrical Agreement only reinforces what we already knew to be true – there is more work to be done to ensure safety on sets and across the industry,” Time’s Up’s statement read. “Actors play a key role in influencing the narratives and norms that shape our culture. However, they cannot continue to work in an environment where sexual harassment and other forms of demeaning and degrading behaviors persist. In order to overcome the deeply systemic issues that have enabled abuse for many years, all industry stakeholders – from unions to filmmakers to content distributors – must independently build upon these protections for performers, above the baseline that the contract requires.”

The organization continued: “We commend those in the industry who go above and beyond what is obligatory and urge others to take their lead. And we remain steadfast in our commitment to building an industry that is truly safe and inclusive for all – and vigilant in holding others accountable to the same measures.”

The new contract contains new rules to protect actors involved in nude and simulated sex scenes. Among them is the prohibition of using personal recording devices during auditions and filming of intimate scenes. There are also requirements that all actors involved in intimate scenes have a robe to cover up in between takes available at all times and have a “nudity rider” outlining all details and requirements for intimate scenes sent to them for review with at least 48 hours notice.

While Time’s Up acknowledged this progress, the organization felt that the contract does not go far enough and demanded “robust closed set protections and definitions for “nudity” and “simulated sex” to the contract. Time’s Up also wanted greater clarity on who is “essential” to have on set during nude and simulated sex scenes, as well as required safety meetings similar to those mandated prior to the filming of stunt scenes.

Time’s Up also echoed complaints made by the SAG-AFTRA Los Angeles local board — which voted 29-13 against recommending the contract — that the intimacy protections do not extend to background actors. An example regularly given by contract critics is the TV show “Westworld,” which has had actors regularly film nude scenes as the show’s artificially-generated “hosts.”

The guild also previously responded to Time’s Up initial push back and defended its protections for actors during sex 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.

The new contract between the guild the studios was approved with a similar margin to the last contract vote with with 74.2% voting yes. By comparison, 75.7% of members voted yes on the 2017 studio contract, while 92% voted to approve the 2014 contract. 27% of all guild members voted.