Intimacy Coordinators Developed In Response To #MeToo—Will Actors Be Protected?

Intimacy Coordinators Developed In Response To #MeToo—Will Actors Be Protected?1153
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An announcement was made on Wednesday that a series of both standards and guidelines pertaining to those crew members who are responsible for the supervision of scenes that involve sex and nudity were sent down by the union that currently represents both actors and television performers.

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) provided a set of policies and practices for a new crew title of "intimacy coordinators," in an attempt to offer both productions and actors help in the performance and navigation of those scenes deemed sexually sensitive.

The guidelines sent down would require the designated intimacy coordinator to conduct a pre-production meeting with all of the powers that be on the project, such as producers, writers, and even writers.  The reason for the meeting would serve to determine to what extent and degree of nudity would be expected along with simulated sex scenes that may be contained within the script.

Gabrielle Carteris, currently setting union president, stated: “These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions, therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG members while they work.”

Included instructions in the guidelines for intimacy coordinators were such requirements of reviewing the widely known "modesty garments" as well as the barriers used to separate the actors when performing any onscreen sex simulations.  The coordinators would also aid directors in the crafting and choreographing of simulated sex scenes so as to keep the scene believable yet without compromising the performer's safety or dignity.

In a statement by the union's national executive director, David White, the guidelines were created by a group of leaders within the union, along with actors and intimacy coordinators.  The reason being that there was a need to address the recent problems with claims of sexual harassment on production sets.  As of this time, any deviations from the standards do not currently carry any type of enforcement penalties.

Having helped in the development of the current guidelines, Amanda Blumenthal, the Intimacy Professionals Associated founder, stated that she felt: “The guidelines strike the right balance between describing the roles and responsibilities of intimacy coordinators while still allowing for flexibility from show-to-show.”

In an era of the hashtag #MeToo, these guidelines are the latest move by the SAG in their attempt to battle for the protection of those actors that experience both sexual harassment and sexual misconduct on set.

Will this employment of this set of guidelines aid in the protection of actors on set?