Time’s Up Urges SAG-AFTRA Members to Vote Against Proposed Studio Contract

Hollywood’s anti-sexual harassment organization says the contract does not do enough to protect actors in intimate scenes

Last Updated: July 20, 2020 @ 7:29 PM

Time’s Up has come out against SAG-AFTRA’s proposed studio contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, urging the guild’s members to vote against approving it.

“Creating safe, dignified, and equitable workplaces in an industry where nudity and intimacy are often part of the work is challenging, but not insurmountable,” the sexual abuse advocacy group said in a statement released Monday evening. “Therefore, the fact that SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP reached an agreement that does not include key health and safety measures is deeply disappointing and dangerous.”

The new contract, which was ratified by the guild’s national board earlier this month and now must be approved by members, 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 still feels that the contract does not go far enough. Among the additional regulations demanded are “robust closed set protections and definitions for ‘nudity’ and ‘simulated sex,’ to the contract, and providing 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 actors’ union voiced their appreciation for the “concern and advocacy” of Time’s Up, saying they are all “motivated by the same desire to protect our members and others in the entertainment industry,” but adds that it believes Time’s Up “made a serious mistake.”

“We are disappointed that they have taken the highly irregular step of interfering in our members’ contract ratification effort,” SAG-AFTRA said in a Monday night statement. “Their action disrupts our members’ rights to self-determination and to vote on their contract free from the pressure and influence of outside organizations.”

After pointing out that “the working actors that constitute our negotiating committee and our national board of directors, overwhelmingly voted up this contract for our members’ consideration,” the union concluded that the organization neither had “the right or the invitation to intrude” in the negotiating process.

SAG-AFTRA said: “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 voting period for the SAG-AFTRA contract ends at 5 p.m. PT on Wednesday. More on the debate over the contract can be found on WrapPRO. 

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