Sexual Assault in the Television and Movie Industry

posted in: Sexual Harassment | 0

action sign, film crew, hollywood

The Golden Globes have kicked off the award season in Hollywood, and the tone in 2019 is far different than what we saw in 2018.   There was little mention of the scandal that has plagued the motion picture, television, and entertainment industry. By now, you’ve heard a few stories surrounding sexual harassment allegations involving some of our favorite entertainers. Hollywood has swept it under the rug and turned a blind eye to it for years, but things came to a head with the #MeToo movement.

The television and movie industry is known for being very competitive, and having connections is a crucial part in moving upward. As a result, many fear the consequences of reporting sexual harassment. There have been cases where others have gotten fired, or worse, blackballed from working in the industry altogether.

Let’s take Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey.  He found himself answering sexual harassment allegations that dated back to 1986.  In 2017, actor Anthony Rapp admitted to BuzzFeed that Spacey made sexual advances towards him when he was 14.

And it’s not just actors being spotlighted for inappropriate sexual behavior. American film producer, Harvey Weinstein was arrested in of May of 2018 and faced a number of allegations of sexual harassment and rape against several women including actresses Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow.  Some of these cases exposed the decades-old “casting couch” mentality with real victims coming forward. The volume peaked with the #MeToo movement – giving many the courage to step up and report them.

This international movement against sexual harassment and assault has put a bigger spotlight on cases within the television and movie industry. According to a study conducted by USA Today surveying over 800 women in the entertainment industry, 94% say they’ve experienced sexual harassment or assault.

The Huffington Post even wrote an article about sexual harassment being “a part of the job” for those behind the camera, too. A particular case, and one that is fairly common, the website reported was of a production assistant.  When she was sexually assaulted, she immediately filed a claim with Human Resources and her union. After being requested to resume business “per usual” while they investigated, she received an apology letter from her alleged harasser and a few weeks later was unexpectedly let go. The harasser was not.

Potential victims can include anyone from production assistants and location scouts to personal assistants and interns. And in other fields, they can include just about anyone. Anyone who finds their job or career threatened by not consenting to sexual advances, or where a culture exists where people believe they need to “put out” to get a job or a role is a victim. Do you believe you were fired for rejecting sexual advances or were subjected to harassment?


The Carter Law Firm is a California employment and labor firm with expertise in sexual harassment cases. If you have been a victim of sexually harassing behavior, or know someone who has, please reach out to us using the contact form below.

We realize that discretion is critical in this area and your information will be kept completely confidential.

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