Jessica Booth
April 14, 2018 1:45 pm
Christopher Polk / Staff / Getty Images

When it comes to safety and accountability, it’s no secret that Hollywood has been in need of some serious changes for a long time. It finally seems like that’s starting to happen. The Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has officially banned auditions and meetings in hotel rooms.

The ban comes after months of celebrities speaking out about incidents of sexual harassment and assault, many of which occurred during meetings and auditions that took place in private hotel rooms. For example, many of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein included stories about exactly that situation. SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris explained in a statement, “We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting.”

The ban is called Guideline No. 1, and it’s a sign of more changes to come. In fact, it’s only the first expansion of the Code of Conduct that the union had released in February. This was part of its Four Pillars of Change initiative that promised to confront sexual harassment in the world of Hollywood.

This guideline will prevent producers and other higher-ups in the industry from holding professional meetings in any kind of hotel room or private residence. The guideline also asks every member of the union to turn down any request to meet in a private location, assuming some higher-ups don’t follow the rules. The guideline also acknowledges the fact that a meeting in a private spot might sometimes come up for a more legitimate reason – but in that case, someone else must be present, referred to as a “Support Peer.”

Anita Hill, chair of the Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, released a statement saying, “The implementation of this guideline marks an important first step in communicating appropriate industry standards for professional practices. This is exactly the kind of action the Commission encourages as part of our ongoing effort to introduce systemic changes that create safer, fairer and more equitable workspaces throughout the industry. We call on other stakeholders to support SAG-AFTRA’s effort and encourage them to adopt similar guidelines within their own institutions.”

While it’s great that this ban is happening, it’s hard to wonder why it took so long for it to come up. The allegations against Weinstein and other Hollywood power players have been building up for years — it’s insane that it took the union this look to take a stand. In fact, it’s kind of crazy that meetings and auditions were ever allowed to be held inside someone’s private room. Many on Twitter agreed:

Here’s to hoping this change makes a big difference – and that we see more of this in the coming weeks and months.

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