If Hollywood stars really want to fight harassment, here’s how they can start
The sexual harassment and sexual-assault stories currently roiling the entertainment industry have stars and fans in a fighting mood. So it was no surprise when Gal Gadot’s contract negotiations made headlines. Gadot, whose Wonder Woman is the lone real breakout superhero of the DC movie franchise, reportedly declared that she wouldn’t sign for future installments unless the movies were no longer financed by RatPac-Dune Entertainment. RatPac is co-founded by director and producer Brett Ratner, who has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault by a number of women. Ratner’s financing deal with the studio expires next year, potentially before filming on the second “Wonder Woman” movie is set to begin; Gadot has said that others involved in the film’s production share her concerns about Ratner’s involvement.
There’s a useful idea in this story.
Actors in Hollywood work on contract. Often, that makes them vulnerable: By preventing a woman from getting cast in new projects, super-producers such as Harvey Weinstein can start a slide that derails her entire career. But the reverse is also true. Singularly powerful stars, or actors considered critical to multibillion-dollar franchises, have a great deal of leverage. Gadot may not have had to use hers in this case, but it’s worth thinking through how influential women — and men, especially those who want to be considered feminists — could use their influence to advance gender equity on their sets and in their industry at large.
I batted around some ideas for what actors could ask for in their contracts with Eriq Gardner, a senior editor at the Hollywood Reporter who covers legal issues in the industry, and I talked to Kathleen Peratis, a partner at Outten & Golden who specializes in employment law about whether there would be any obvious legal barriers to any of these potential requests. “They can get whatever their power allows them to get,” Peratis told me. So for those with power in Hollywood who want to make a difference, here are some places to get started:
1. Transparency around sexual harassment cases and settlements: ...
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2. A reverse “key man clause”: ...
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3. An end to arbitration and confidentiality clauses:
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4. Pay equity for co-stars: ...
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