On November 23rd, The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television, and Radio Artists (ACTRA) invited various Canadian groups to a meeting in Toronto to discuss the recent sexual misconduct allegations that are now a frequent headline in our news. Most notably, the multiple allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood big-wig Harvey Weinstein pushed Canadian union groups to action. These groups represent actors, talent agencies, directors, and other related titles linking to Canada’s film and television industry.
The meeting concluded that a code of conduct should be set to prevent future wrong-doings. This is just one of what they call “several steps” which need to be implemented for a safe working environment. The code of conduct would detail what categorizes as inappropriate behavior, and also explain the consequences for doing those actions.
Groups also addressed the difficulties of reporting inappropriate conduct – for many, the hardest part is opening themselves up to the criticism and possible disbelief of people around them. To lessen this, groups talked about organizing education programs and implementing easier ways to report incidents (no specific plans have been shared as of this point).
It’s incredibly important to have these meetings and remain proactive on an issue that has obviously touched the lives of many. Some have more doubts about ACTRA’s meeting than compliments. Actress Mia Kirshner remains critical of these performer unions, tweeting:
1. Too little, too late. I don’t believe that ACTRA is actually interested listening to union members.
— Mia Kirshner (@msmiakirshner) November 14, 2017
She later shared that she believed ACTRA’s discussions were “created for the purpose of public relations.”
Regardless of opinion, it’s crucial that sexual misconduct is openly discussed. It’s the only way change can actually happen.