October 17, 2017
Dear NYWIFT Members,
The entertainment industry was rocked by a New York Times exposé of decades of sexual harassment allegations leveled at producer Harvey Weinstein and, as the days unfold, accounts of abuses by other top men in the industry are surfacing rapidly. To NYWIFT, and to so many of our members, this type of abusive behavior, while appalling, is anything but “breaking news.” Such stories are pervasive at all levels of the industry, and we’ve heard similar accounts from many of our members. While Weinstein may be the most hypocritical and highest profile at the moment, the industry is rife with sexism across the board, not only from ‘head honchos’ but it is also occurring in all positions, whether a woman is crewing a film or show, performing a scene on set, participating in a corporate board room meeting, or at her desk in everyday work environments. From the most overt to the insidious subtle nuanced overtures, in front of the camera or behind the scenes, sexual harassment is real and we commend all those who have spoken out so far.
We are glad The Weinstein Company, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Producers Guild of America took decisive action. Now, we need to band together and shed further light on how this type of abusive and harassing behavior is being addressed down the line or in companies where women don’t feel they are able to speak out. This horrifying, all-too-prevalent behavior reminds us of the importance of solidarity, how women have to share knowledge to protect each other, how some predators unfortunately disguise themselves as “allies,” and how we need to keep the conversation going.
NYWIFT was formed on the premise of supporting and empowering women in their profession and craft. In keeping with this long tradition, we call on you today to stand together, support each other, and share your stories. We encourage you to engage with your fellow NYWIFT members by posting on our social media channels, submitting a blog story, producing a short film, or perhaps you’d like to help us create an educational program. Send your ideas and stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would would also like to make our members aware of the National Women’s Law Center’s new Legal Network for Gender Equity to address the unprecedented number of threats to women’s rights. The Legal Network for Gender Equity has initially recruited more than 75 attorneys from across the country who stand ready to provide an initial free legal consultation and, when appropriate, represent women and girls who experience sex discrimination on the job, at school, and in the health care system. The Center is assembling the infrastructure for the network to become fully operational later this year with the goal of attorneys participating in every state. At this time, if you are an attorney interested in taking part in this Network, we encourage you to please fill out your information at www.nwlc.org/legalnetworksignup. You can contact NWLC’s Legal Director, Sunu Chandy at email@example.com with any questions.
Simone Pero, President