Workplace Sexual Harassment in the Entertainment Industry

Los Angeles and Hollywood are well-known for workplace sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. This industry is overwhelmed with gender inequalities, young and impressionable aspiring talent, and a range of practices and behaviors that foster an environment of harassment and abuse. The more you understand workplace sexual harassment in the entertainment industry, the better you can protect yourself. 

Why Is Sexual Harassment So Prevalent in the Entertainment Industry?

There are two main types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo, or “this for that” sexual harassment, is common in the entertainment industry due to a major imbalance of power. Managers, agents, directors and other higher-ups often take advantage of their positions of power to offer job seekers successful careers in return for sexual favors. In addition, hostile work environments are created through gender biases in a male-dominated field.

Sexual harassment persists in the entertainment industry due to women being stereotyped as sex objects, as well as youths in the industry being taken advantage of by older and more experienced individuals. Studies have shown that microaggressions in the entertainment industry have been normalized, as have nonconsensual or coerced sexual touching. All aspects of the entertainment industry are pervaded by sexual harassment and assault, from auditions to large-scale projects.

According to a survey conducted by the International Labour Organization, the two main culprits are people in positions of power (52 percent) and coworkers (50 percent). The most commonly reported types of sexual harassment experienced by victims in the entertainment industry are sexually suggestive or gender-biased language (78 percent), sexual advances or propositions (62 percent), and requests for sexual favors to get a job or employment benefits (43 percent). After these, “physical touching, groping and sexual assault” is in fourth place at 37 percent. 

What to Do if You Suffer Workplace Sexual Harassment in the Entertainment Industry

Sexual harassment of any kind in showbusiness can significantly affect the lives of victims. It can impact survivors not only physically and emotionally, but professionally by destroying their careers and futures. If you have experienced any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, violence, assault or abuse in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, take action to protect yourself and others who may be in similar positions. Take the following steps to come forward with your story:

  1. Write down what happened. Create a detailed account of what you remember, including the name of the abuser and any witnesses. Record the time, date and location of the harassment or abuse.
  2. Go to a doctor. If you were sexually abused, going to a hospital within 72 hours can provide a sexual assault forensic exam, which may come up with DNA from the abuser. Although going to a hospital can be emotionally difficult, it is an important step if you wish to hold the perpetrator accountable.
  3. Report to the Human Resources Department. File an official sexual harassment or assault claim with the film company or your employer. Write down the name of the person you spoke to and how they responded to the allegation.
  4. Go to the EEOC. If the company fails to investigate the complaint and take proper action against the offender, file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They can help you take legal action against the employer.
  5. Consult with a sexual harassment attorney. Once you can consider your legal options, contact an attorney for assistance. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer in Los Angeles can help you fight for justice.

Put your personal safety and wellbeing first. Get to a safe place and tell someone you trust about the incident. Go to the police if you believe that you or someone else is in imminent danger. Take the time to comprehend and cope with the crime. Then, take a stand against the individual or corporation responsible for the sexual harassment by consulting with a lawyer.