Actors union says meetings in hotel rooms, homes should end

NEW YORK — The Screen Actors Guild on Thursday called for an end to auditions and professional meetings in private hotel rooms and residences in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

SAG-AFTRA issued new guidelines that expand the guild's code of conduct in an effort to curtail sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. SAG is asking producers and executives to refrain from holding professional meetings in hotel rooms and homes, and is urging its members not to agree to meetings in such "high-risk locations."

The announcement is the part of the union's initiative to improve workplace safety following the many accusations made against Weinstein. The now disgraced movie mogul is alleged by dozens of actresses to have used business meetings in private locations to make unwanted sexual advances.

"We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting," said Gabrielle Carteris, president of SAG-AFTRA.

If no reasonable location is found, the union suggests members bring a "support peer" to meetings. SAG, with represents some 160,000 actors and other entertainment professionals, also said its members, when acting as a producer or decision maker, should adhere to the guideline.

The Producers Guild applauded SAG's code of conduct Thursday, and pointed to its own anti-sexual harassment guidelines released in January. Those recommended that producers "conduct all meetings and casting sessions in an environment that is professional, safe and comfortable for all parties."

"We support this practice as an industry standard," said PGA president Gary Lucchesi and Lori McCreary in a statement. "With our industry's guilds working in constructive and coordinated fashion, we look forward to the day when workplace harassment and misconduct is considered a vestige of Hollywood's history."

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