Actors’ Union Signs Agreement to Eliminate 'Casting Couch'

The deal, following the fall of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of Me Too, aims to further an entertainment industry culture change.

SAG-AFTRA, the country’s largest actors’ union, has announced a new agreement with broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, that aims to reduce auditions or meetings for members in private hotel rooms or residences.

Union President Gabrielle Carteris said in a press release that the agreement will include “meaningful increases in wages and residuals rates that will put real money in members’ pockets.” But in the wake of the Me Too movement, the “casting couch” culture would also be amended, Carteris added.

“The agreement now reflects important new language limiting auditions or meetings in private hotel rooms and residences, which represents a partial realization of our work toward industry culture change,” said Carteris.

The agreement will go into effect in July, and comes after a global reckoning against workplace sexual misconduct that began in fall 2017. After reports in The New York Times and The New Yorker revealed that former film executive Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual misconduct and assault by dozens of women., many other women and men stepped forward to share experiences of assault and harassment. 

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges against him, which include rape, and apologized, saying he’d “do right” by those he has hurt. 

The disgraced Hollywood executive became so synonymous with the idea of a casting couch that an artist even created a statue of his likeness seated on one as a “visual representation of the practices and methods that are used in Hollywood with these big powerful people.”



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