The New York Times exposé on Harvey Weinstein revealed an insidious problem of sexual harassment, abuse, and rape in Hollywood. The Hollywood Reporter reports that this problem is not just reserved for high-profile actresses — this is also about women crew members, who face the same problems but have more terrifying odds. After all, a production assistant has less sway than an A-list actress.
THR surveyed over two dozen women who have worked behind-the-scenes on films, and "virtually all of them" recalled having been harassed in the workplace. None shared their name with the publication.
The women describe an atmosphere much like the Hollywood described in the Weinstein exposé and subsequent reports — harassment happens, and reporting it means losing your job. Some crew members opted for a prevention strategy.
"A lot of women try to be androgynous. No makeup, jeans, a baseball cap," one anonymous interviewee admits.
One women described being "taunted" by a man on set with the idea that HR was effectively useless. She recalled that he said, "'What are you going to do, call HR?' Human resources is not there for us; it's there for the company. To protect it from a liability.'"
The solution, one women said, is for the Director's Guild of America to make gender equality a personal mission. "The director sets the tone on set," she pointed out.
The actress Kristen Stewart also acknowledged the trials of women crew members at the Elle Women in Hollywood event last weekend.
"I can't tell you how many times I've saved makeup artists — because it trickles down to makeup artists, camera assistants — from DPs who are like, 'Hey babe,'" Stewart said. "And, um, when I say like 'saved' I mean momentarily been like, 'Hey, don't, fucker.' And then they're embarrassed for one second but then it just keeps going every single day."
She ended her speech with a call-to-arms for the powerful people in Hollywood to stand up for the below-the-line workers. "I would say let's be aware of this on every level," she said. "I can tell you that those girls are as duct-taped as one could possibly be, because they're in fear of getting their next job." It seemingly takes those in power, like Stewart or organizations like the DGA, to change the structure for those suffering harassment.
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