As Harvey Weinstein stories keep coming in, women who have experienced sexual harassment and assault in other industries and other subsections of the entertainment industry have decided this is their moment to speak out too. On Thursday, 217 female and gender nonconforming animators signed their names to an open letter to studio and network execs outlining their demands for an end to such treatment.
"As we came together to share our stories of sexism, sexual harassment and, in some cases, sexual assault, we were struck by the pervasiveness of the problem," reads the letter, which was first reported on by Buzzfeed News. "Every one of us has a story to share, from tossed-off comments about our body parts that were framed as 'jokes' to women being cornered in dark rooms by male colleagues to criminal assault."
The group of women behind the letter includes My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic creator Lauren Faust, Bob's Burgers creator Wendy Molyneux, Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar, Danger & Eggs creator Shadi Petosky, and animators who work on such popular shows as BoJack Horseman, Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls. In it, they state that the Weinstein scandal inspired them to share stories with each other that they previously kept quiet about for fear of how it would affect their careers in an industry is still only made up of 23 percent women. Though that number represents a significant growth from the past, the women say it seems that some men have not accepted their place in the business of animation.
The letter lists three demands. First, that every studio put in place clear sexual harassment policies and take reports of violations seriously. Second, that the Animation Guild create an Anti-Harassment and Discrimination Guild and add language to "censure, fine, suspend or expel any member" found guilty of "prejudicial" conduct. Last, that male colleagues speak up, too.
"Stop making excuses for bad behavior in your friends and co-workers, and tell them what they are doing is wrong," the last item asks.
Before the Weinstein scandal shook up Hollywood this month, some women in the animation industry spoke to Buzzfeed anonymously about their treatment. They said that they hadn't reported incidents of harassment at their jobs because they suspected nothing would be done about it and, worse, that they would be labeled "difficult" or "not fun."
On Thursday, Nickelodeon suspended Chris Savino, the creator of the cartoon Loud House, according to CartoonBrew.com. That was after a dozen women came forward to report Savino's inappropriate behavior toward them.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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