We’d file this under the rubric of things that just aren’t going to work – Equity is to make absolutely certain that sexual predation just does not happen in the acting business. Apologies to snowflakes of every generation and age but that’s just not how human beings work.
Sexual predators, harassers and bullies in the entertainment industries who are lying low, hoping that people will forget, must never be allowed to repeat or get away with their behaviour, the actors’ union Equity has said.
On Thursday it published a report titled Agenda for Change, its response to the sexual harassment scandal, with a raft of recommendations covering subjects including safety at work, sex scenes, nudity, casting and gender balance.
Among the main measures is the launch of a “safe space” campaign, which will include posters, a helpline, and productions being encouraged to have a safe space statement read before rehearsals begin. The union is also promising to investigate non-disclosure agreements, which it says potentially protect perpetrators of harassment.
This is to miss a significant part of what is being sold.
No, this is not to make that old connection between actresses and prostitution, nor even to reference the more modern MAW (Model, Actress, Whatever). Instead it’s to note that for some portion of each new generation of actors and actresses (yes, this applies to men just as much) what is being sold is sexual attractiveness. Youth, seeming fertility, unlined and beautiful bodies and faces. The thing is that if this is what is being sold then that is what will be bought too. Both publicly and privately.
To make an invidious point or two, Bo Derek wasn’t hired for her acting ability but for an extreme form of beauty. Meryl Streep could be several points further down that Richter Scale of looks and still have people lining up to employ her for those very acting skills.
This does not mean that predation, rape in return for a scene, is fair game. It’s rape and rapists should be in prison. But if there are tens of thousands (there are) of pretty young things, male and female, who want to get into the movies then at least some of them will have that youth and beauty bought off them for the chance to go into the movies. Sorry, but that’s humans for you.