casting couch

In a move to end the casting-couch culture in the film industry, the SAG-AFTRA, a leading American actors’ union, has urged filmmakers to stop holding auditions in hotel rooms or their homes.

SAG issued a new code of conduct this year as part of its response to sexual misconduct claims brought against Harvey Weinstein and other influencers in the entertainment business. This week, SAG-AFTRA added new guidelines.

“We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting,” Gabrielle Carteris, the guild’s president, said.

Guideline No. 1 calls upon producers and other decision makers to refrain from holding professional meetings in hotel rooms and private residences. It also urges members and their representatives not to agree to professional meetings in these high-risk locations. In the rare event that there is no reasonable alternative to having the meeting in such a location, Guideline No. 1 establishes the concept of a “Support Peer” to accompany the member during the meeting.

The organization, which represents over 100,000 actors and other entertainment professionals, asked producers and executives not to hold meetings in hotel rooms and homes and urged members to not attend auditions that require such meetings.

What is the casting couch?

The casting couch is the demanding of sexual favors by a producer, filmmaker, casting director or any person in a position of power and authority, from an actor, model or subordinate in return for an occupation or career advancement. The term casting couch originated in the film industry, with specific references to couches in offices that could be used for sexual activity between casting directors and aspiring actors.

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