How common is sexual misconduct in Hollywood?
But it’s true: Almost every one of hundreds of women questioned in an exclusive survey by USA TODAY say they have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault during their careers in Hollywood.
For months now we’ve all been hearing the horrifying stories of abuse from marquee names like Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek, about what powerful men in Hollywood, like movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, allegedly did to them and other women over decades.
Unwanted sexual comments and groping. Propositioning women. Exposing themselves. Coercing women into having sex or doing something sexual. And, especially pertinent to showbiz, forcing women to disrobe and appear naked at an audition without prior warning.
It’s been deeply disturbing reading, but so far the powerful stories of accusers outnumber plain, hard facts about the extent of the problem in Tinseltown. Until now.
Working in partnership with The Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, USA TODAY surveyed 843 women who work in the entertainment industry in a variety of roles (producers, actors, writers, directors, editors and others) and asked them about their experiences with sexual misconduct.
The results are sobering: Nearly all of the women who responded to the survey (94%) say they have experienced some form of harassment or assault, often by an older individual in a position of power over the accuser.
Worse, more than one-fifth of respondents (21%) say they have been forced to do something sexual at least once.
Only one in four women reported these experiences to anyone because of fear of personal or professional backlash or retaliation. This reporting rate holds true for all forms of misconduct addressed in the survey, including being forced to do something sexual.
Of those who did report their experiences, most say reporting did not help them; only 28% say their workplace situation improved after reporting.
One surprising finding: Even though America has been arguing about workplace sexual harassment ever since the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings in 1991, more than one-third of women surveyed weren’t even sure that what happened to them was sexual harassment.
Still, even though the survey shows that older and more experienced women have been subjected to more incidents of sexual misconduct, younger women with less than five years of experience in the industry are more likely to blow a whistle on misconduct.
And that suggests there’s a chance the status quo — misconduct allowed to flourish because few complain and no one in authority does anything about it — might change in the future as younger women increasingly enter the entertainment workforce and begin asserting influence.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which maintains a large library of related surveys on the subject of workplace sexual harassment, says USA TODAY’s survey is a first for its focus on Hollywood and for its comprehensiveness.
As with most surveys, there are limitations that could affect interpretations. It was conducted online between Dec. 4, 2017, and Jan. 14 after emails were sent to members of The Creative Coalition and Women in Film and Television inviting them to participate. As a self-selected sample of respondents, it is not scientifically representative of the entire industry, let alone the broader national population of women working in all industries.
Thus, says Anita Raj, director of the Center for Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego’s medical school, the survey should be treated with some caution. But she believes that the results overall are “credible and important” and that people should pay attention.
“The percentages (in USA TODAY’s survey) are higher than what we typically see for workplace abuses, but we know there is variation by the type of workplace,” Raj says. “But it makes sense to me that we would see higher numbers (in the entertainment industry),” where the “casting couch” has prevailed for decades and is considered “normal.”
Women may not always know the line between the demands of showbiz and what constitutes sexual harassment, she says. In fact, Raj says, kissing someone without their consent is actually a crime in California, which, she notes, once happened on live TV in front of millions: when Adrien Brody, who won the best-actor Oscar in 2003, grabbed presenter Halle Berry and dip-kissed her at the podium before his acceptance speech. She was not happy, she acknowledged years later, but everyone else just laughed.
“Yes, I’d like to see more solidity in the scientific aspects of how the data was collected. But 94% does not seem shocking. It says this is ubiquitous in Hollywood,” Raj says. “There is a lack of clarity on what constitutes professional….Read More
Source by usatoday..