Hollywood still has a long way to go to fix its culture of sexual harassment, according to an extensive new report from a commission led by Anita Hill.
The Hollywood Commission, which formed in late 2017 following an avalanche of abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, on Tuesday released its Culture and Climate Report 2019-20, based on an online survey of 10,000 entertainment industry workers between November 2019 and February 2020.
The findings showed that in the three years since Weinstein’s downfall sparked the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment has remained all too common in Tinseltown.
More than two-thirds of women reported having experienced unwanted sexual attention (42%), sexual coercion (20%) or sexual assault (5%) in the 12 months prior to the survey – approximately twice the rate reported among men.
Less than a third of workers who experienced harassment said they reported it to a supervisor, human resources or their legal department, citing concerns about job security.
The report did offer a glimmer of hope as 69 percent of survey participants said they believe Hollywood has made progress toward curbing abuse, but with a caveat: ‘There is much more to be done.’
The Hollywood Commission’s Culture and Climate Report released on Tuesday revealed how the entertainment industry is still plagued by sexual harassment. More than two-thirds of women reported having experienced unwanted sexual attention (42%), sexual coercion (20%) or sexual assault (5%) in the 12 months prior to the survey – approximately twice the rate reported among men
Less than a third of workers who experienced harassment said they reported it to a supervisor, human resources or their legal department, citing concerns about job security
The report did offer a glimmer of hope as 69 percent of workers said they believe Hollywood has made progress toward curbing abuse – with a much higher rate among men than women
Hill was picked to lead the commission after having become one of the nation’s most prominent voices against harassment in the workplace aired allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during Senate confirmation proceedings in 1991.
In addition to looking at sexual harassment, the latest report also reviewed progress with bias, accountability and bullying.
Results from each of the four categories showed that while forward movement has been made and awareness heightened, there are still several indicators of ‘troubling workplace attitudes and behaviors’.
Anita Hill (pictured) was picked to lead the commission after having become one of the nation’s most prominent voices against harassment in the workplace aired allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991
Below are the three key findings outlined in the report:
- ‘Despite perceived progress, the entertainment industry has a permissive climate toward sexual harassment: Workers don’t believe powerful harassers will be held accountable or that their reports will be taken seriously, and they view reporting as risky.’
- ‘Despite widespread antidiscrimination statements and policies, gender diversity targets, and unconscious bias training, most workers don’t think the industry values diversity, inclusion, or respect. These perceptions and findings were largely consistent across all areas of work, with those working in corporate settings having a dimmer view of these values than those working in television and film.’
- ‘Despite awareness of unacceptable workplace behaviors, workers reported disappointingly high rates of bias, bullying, and sexual harassment. Few reported these behaviors to their employer. Many experienced retaliation.’
Only 35 percent of survey respondents said it was somewhat or very likely that a harasser would be held accountable for their actions
Marginalized and underrepresented groups were less likely to say they believe harassers would be held accountable for their actions
The report also looked at rates of bullying in the entertainment industry. The graph above shows how younger workers were much more likely to report various forms of bullying
The report showed that men on average had a far more positive view of the extent to which the entertainment industry values diversity and inclusion
Hill summed up the commission’s conclusions in a letter at the beginning of the report, signalling optimism about forward movement while highlighting the importance of work to come.
‘To its credit, the Hollywood community has signaled that it is moving in a new direction,’ she wrote.
‘The pace of progress and the re-imagining of our workplace puts inclusivity in the spotlight and gives entertainment an auspicious opportunity to reshape itself with diversity and inclusion firmly at the center of its business model, decision making, strategies, operations, and output.
‘Now is the time to recommit to diversity and inclusion as a business imperative, a social mandate, and a safeguard against future crisis. Put simply, it is the right thing to do.’
The commission presented a lengthy list of recommendations for how to build on progress already made.
Among those recommendations were to create systems for holding abusers accountable, bolstering anti-bias training programs and providing transparency into reporting, complaint processes, and investigations.
The commission also vowed to commit more resources for helping institutions foster healthier work environments, including by establishing ‘model best practice standards for hiring, promotion, and retention of diverse workforces’ and offering programming on ‘accuracy in diverse content and portrayal of underrepresented groups historically and today’.