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Hollywood workers fear harassers go unpunished, report led by Anita Hill finds

By Anousha Sakoui, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

LOS ANGELES - A commission led by law professor Anita Hill surveying nearly 10,000 entertainment industry workers found few believe perpetrators of sexual misconduct will be held accountable.

The study, based on a 110-question survey, depicts a dim view of accountability in Hollywood, with 65% believing that a powerful individual, such as a producer or director, would not be held responsible for harassing someone less powerful.

Only 28% of those who said they experienced some form of gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion reported it to a supervisor, human resources or their legal department. Another key finding: 41% of victims and witnesses in harassment cases said they experienced retaliation.

"All of those things combined ... really reveals that we've got to do something to give people more confidence in the system," Hill said in an interview.

The Hollywood Commission for Eliminating Harassment and Advancing Equality released the highlights of its first major survey as the entertainment industry continues to grapple with the fallout from 2017's #MeToo movement and the trial of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The nonprofit organization - chaired by Hill and founded by "Star Wars" producer Kathleen Kennedy and lawyer Nina Shaw - was set up to bring entertainment companies, agencies and unions together to develop and implement systems to counter harassment and abuses following a wave of misconduct allegations against powerful Hollywood producers and celebrities.

 

The Ethics & Compliance Initiative, a nonprofit research organization, oversaw the national survey of 9,630 entertainment industry workers, which was conducted anonymously online between November 2019 and February.

The survey included managers and workers across film, television and other entertainment industry sectors.

It found a sizable gap between men's and women's views on accountability for those who engage in gender harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct.

For example, 45% of men surveyed believe someone in power would be held accountable for harassing someone with less authority, versus 28% of women. Less than half (48%) of workers saw progress in addressing power abuse since the #MeToo movement started three years ago.

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