In the wake of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, Hollywood is changing beyond simply wearing black gowns and logo pins to awards shows.
After movie executive Harvey Weinstein, director Brett Ratner and actors from Kevin Spacey to Jeffrey Tambor have been accused of harassment, a wave of institutional change is flooding the industry.
Here are four ways the pervnado is shifting the way Hollywood works:
1. Sexual-harassment insurance is now a thing.
Lawyers drawing up agreements for studios are introducing “morality clauses” into actors’ contracts. That means that if talent commits (or, perhaps, is credibly accused of committing) misconduct, they won’t be paid. Attorney Mark Stankevich told The Post, “These riders are being strengthened to give studios full rights to terminate deals in the event of bad conduct.”
In fact, studios have always wanted these clauses, but actors’ reps refused. Now, this new movement might create hassles on both sides. For one thing, it could make it harder to get film budgets green-lit “The problem is, if the distributor has an out, it’s more difficult to get banks to lend money for projects,” said lawyer Schuyler Moore. In other words, the very inclusion of a morality clause could make lenders leery, given that distributors could choose to drop the project from its slate.
And given that morality clauses could be of the blanket variety, actors might get burned. “ ‘Bad conduct’ isn’t all that specific,” said attorney Cynthia Farrelly Gesner. “If someone’s accused [of misconduct] on social media, that can start a smear campaign — and talent [could be forced to] forfeit their salaries for anything a studio finds ‘egregious.’ ”
2. Nondisclosure agreements may go the way of the dodo.
The agreements, also called NDAs, began taking off in Hollywood in the 1980s. Some A-listers insist that almost everyone they employ — from nannies to assistants, from drivers to shrinks — sign contracts to guarantee they won’t spill details of the stars’ lives. It’s been reported that Taylor Swift and Leonardo DiCaprio even ask love interests to sign NDAs.
Other forms of NDAs involve people agreeing not to discuss accusations they have made against a powerful person — often in exchange for a financial settlement. But now stars may give them up all together.
NDAs have also lost their scary power — “Keep quiet or you’ll be sued for big money damages” — in the age of #MeToo, as women who once signed them are now breaking their silence. After receiving financial settlements to stay mum about their claims of abuse by Harvey Weinstein, women including his ex-assistant Zelda Perkins, actress Rose McGowan and model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez broke their NDAs to speak out for the greater good.
“In theory, NDAs are enforceable just like any other valid contract — if the party who wants to enforce it is willing to go to court and face discovery and depositions on the very issues they are trying keep confidential,” said Daniel Coplan, a Hollywood attorney.
As one TV actor put it: “[NDAs] just don’t have any meaning anymore, so why bother?”
3. Actresses won’t be left alone with another Harvey.
Many of the stories about Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults and harassment begin with an actress — McGowan, Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow and others — being sent to the mogul’s hotel suite (which McGowan has referred to as an “international rape factory”), sometimes by the actresses’ own agents.
But the days of one-on-one powwows are over. “Now there will have to be [someone else in the room at all meetings,” said one agent at Creative Artists Agency.
Gabrielle Carteris, president of the SAG-AFTRA actors union and a star of “Beverly Hills, 90210,” told The Post, “I was just at an audition yesterday, and a casting director told me the audition process now must include a second person in the room.”
4. There’s a whole new job market opening up.
The Time’s Up movement isn’t just about preventing sexual misconduct. It also aims to attain gender parity, both in terms of salary and job opportunities. As a result, studios are now bringing in diversity trainers.
“It’s not only to hire more women, but to ensure diverse hiring across the board,” said Carteris.
But even with all this inclusion, there’s some exclusion. The Hollywood Reporter recently interviewed female entertainment-industry figures who claimed Time’s Up is a star-studded club made up of women such as Reese Witherspoon and TV producer Shonda Rhimes. One television executive told The Hollywood Reporter that, at least at first, the movement felt “movie star cliquey.”
“Cliques don’t say much for equality,” one woman, who owns her own LA-based publicity firm but wasn’t invited to Time’s Up meetings, told The Post. “But this being Hollywood, there will always be a club you can’t get into.”