Nearly two-thirds of women writers have experienced sexual harassment on the job, according to a survey of more than 2,000 members of the Writers Guild of America West. In a recent announcement issued to WGA members, the guild said that the survey, which about a fifth of its active members took part in, revealed a “sobering first-person insight” into the hostile work environments faced by many women writers, as “a significant amount of the harassment writers experience occurs in the writers’ room.”
In January, the WGA had issued an official Statement of Principles on Sexual Harassment that was meant to help provide a “starting point toward meaningful change in our industry’s treatment of sexual harassment and discrimination.” The survey, which was sent out a month later, helped guild leadership “understand how well or badly our employers are doing, or have done in the past, in dealing with complaints.”
In many cases, the WGA said, writers had found their complaints about harassment in the writing room stymied by higher-ups who pointed to the Friends sexual harassment decision by the California Supreme Court in 2006, which centered around allegations of harassment in the writing room for the popular ‘90s sitcom. In the end, the court ruled that state law “does not outlaw sexually coarse and vulgar language or conduct that merely offends.” But even if “crude talk” is not unusual in the unique working environment of a writer’s room, the guild noted, that “does not permit such talk to be aimed at an individual in the room.”
Moving forward, the guild has called for Hollywood companies to take “urgent” steps to “ensure a respectful culture with zero tolerance for bullying, harassment and assault” that empowers “victims to speak up” rather than to be silent.
Read the full story at Deadline.